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Island business creates memorial for the 13 service members killed in Afghanistan

Island business creates memorial for the 13 service members killed in Afghanistan
Posted at 8:54 PM, Sep 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-04 01:15:54-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — North Padre Cart Rental is a business that rents golf carts to tourists who use them as a fun, convenient mode of transportation during their vacations on North Padre Island.

It's also now the site of a memorial for the 13 U.S. service members who died in an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26.

"We printed their pictures with their military insignias, put up the flags, and my wife and I plan to leave this out until after September 11, if the signs will survive the winds out here,” business owner Randy Wilbanks said.

It was important to Wilbanks to have the memorial in place for Labor Day weekend when an increased number of people will be on the island.

Already, the memorial is getting lots of attention.

"A lady stopped by with her children, and she’s the one who put all the flowers out," Wilbanks said. "We’ve had people stop by the last couple of nights, pretty late into the night taking pictures — just telling us thanks."

Three other Corpus Christi businesses created memorials of their own last weekend.

At the Rebel Toad Brewery downtown, Dalbert Leal, a 'beer-tender' who's also an Air Force veteran, poured 13 beers and symbolically set them to the side.

That was a tribute to the fallen in itself, but a co-worker says it was made all the more touching by brewery patrons.

“It was nice to see all the people who came in that were able to actually clink their beers against the 13 beers for the people who won’t be coming home,” beer-tender Eric Vigil said.