The love a Marine had for animals and Brown County continues to live on years after his death in Afghanistan.
The Brown County Humane Society has been awarded a grant from the Dog Tag Brewing Foundation in honor of Sgt. Jeremy McQueary, a Columbus native and Brown County resident.
McQueary died in the Helmand Province in Afghanistan on Feb. 18, 2010, after being struck by shrapnel from an improvised explosive device. He was 27.
He left behind his wife, Rae, and an infant son, Hadley, in Brown County, as well as his mother and stepfather, Dave and Deb Kleinschmidt in Columbus, and a sister, Rebecca.
The grant will provide matching funds for the Humane Society’s phone-a-thon, which raises money for a medical fund used to treat animals with illnesses and injuries beyond what is normally needed, a press release said.
All funds raised through June 15 will be doubled through matching grants provided by four foundations, including Dog Tag Brewing Foundation, the humane society reported.
A click-through link to donate can be found here: http://www.bchumane.org/donate/
The giving doesn’t stop there.
The Dog Tag Brewing grant also includes money to cover the adoption fees of senior and special-needs pets.
The Brown County Humane Society already has a 97 percent save rate. “This grant will ensure that every animal who comes to the shelter will be given a chance, even if they have a serious illness or injury. Each and every life is equally important and worth saving,” said shelter Manager Sharon Hensley.
The McQueary family also will provide names for each of the senior or special needs animals and write letters that will be included in each adoption packet.
The Dog Tag Brewing Foundation works with families of fallen soldiers to create legacy projects, which the foundation then provides grants to support. Each project and soldier is then featured on a dedication can; they can be seen here: www.dogtagbrewing.org/
McQueary’s family chose the Brown County Humane Society for his project because “he loved animals and loved Brown County. He wanted to live here so badly,” Rae said. “He was deployed three times and he had a goat, and chickens and other random things there.”
McQueary grew up in Bartholomew County and graduated from Columbus East High School in 2002.
He served in two tours of Iraq before deploying to Afghanistan, where he was a motor vehicle operator assigned to the 2nd Combat Engineering Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Expeditionary Force.
This is the latest local project dedicated to his memory.
A tree was planted near the veterans memorial on the Brown County Courthouse lawn. A bench on the People Trail in Columbus also bears his name.
In the fall of 2013, the State Road 46 East bridge over the north fork of Salt Creek between Snyder and Parkview roads was named for McQueary.
The bridge was part of a route he often traveled to visit his then-future wife, who lived in Brown County. He later moved here to live with Rae in a cabin near that bridge.