Fournet statue unveiled to extensive crowd at Veterans Memorial Park

By By Justin B. Phillips / American Press

More than 40 years after his death, 1st

Lt. Douglas B. Fournet’s memorial was unveiled to an extensive crowd

Saturday at Veterans

Memorial Park. The event was hosted by the city of Lake Charles

and the Mayor’s Committee for the First Lieutenant Douglas

B. Fournet Memorial. The event, attended by residents, service

members, family and friends, focused on remembering one of

the area’s well-known figures.

Mayor Randy Roach spoke before the unveiling. He said the memorial is a way for the city to show people that it will never

forget the sacrifices made by one of its native sons.

“Today we take the opportunity to show

them we mean what we say,” Roach said. He went on to say he hopes future

generations

will visit Veterans Memorial Park and not only think about

Fournet’s sacrifices, but envision making an impact in the world

in some way of their own.

Fournet’s platoon came under sniper

fire as it worked its way uphill in Vietnam’s A Shau Valley. When

Fournet realized his

right flank man had discovered a mine and that alerting nearby

troops would draw the attention of the enemy, Fournet ordered

his men to take cover. Taking out his knife, he ran uphill to the

mine and using his body as a shield, he tried to cut the

control wires.

The mine detonated, killing the

24-year-old instantly. In May 1968, his final act of selflessness saved

the lives of the men

in his platoon. When the memorial was unveiled, Fournet’s son,

Bill, summed up his emotions about seeing the statue of his

father in a simple way. While thanking local representatives for

their work in creating the memorial, Bill thanked Janie Stine

LaCroix for creating the likeness of his father.

“This is the closest I have come to looking him in the eye, and I thank you,” Fournet said.

The memorial is considered the

centerpiece of a redesign of the Veterans Memorial Park entry way. After

the ceremony, a reception

was held in the Contraband Room of the Lake Charles Civic Center.