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Tualatin VFW to name new hall to honor fallen Marine

Veterans of Foreign Wars post will dedicate Cpl. Matthew Lembke Hall at Boones Ferry on Aug. 26

By Stover E Harger III

The Times, Aug 6, 2009, Updated Aug 6, 2009

TUALATIN — Along with a fresh location, the local VFW Post has a new name, the Cpl. Matthew Lembke Hall, designed to honor the Tualatin Marine who died July 10.

A dedication of the Lembke Hall is set for August 26 at 9 a.m. with numerous dignitaries from the city, county and Oregon Legislature planning to attend. There will also be a day-long open house where people can check out the new facilities, now housed in one of the oldest structures in Tualatin — the historic red brick “Robinson building” at 18820 S.W. Boones Ferry Road — which was built in 1912.

When Tualatin Veterans of Foreign Wars members were planning their move from the now demolished 58-year-old building at 8455 S.W. Seneca St. to the 3,000-square-foot Boones Ferry location, they thought they would keep the same name — the “Patriot Hall.”

But the news of Lembke’s death moved the members so much that they felt it was only right to honor him. Everyone was in agreement, said Dale Potts, the spokesman for the Tualatin VFW Post 3452, it would be dedicated to the much-loved Marine.

“It kind of hit a lot of people at the same time,” Potts said.

Lembke died from an infection after an IED blast exploded under him while on patrol late last month in the Taliban-heavy region of Now Zad, Afghanistan. His death shook up many in the city who praised the soldier as a loving, dedicated and cheerful young man.

Naming the hall after Lembke shows respect to him and will help remind people of the sacrifices that all soldiers give for their country, Potts said.

Bend resident Robert Maxwell, Oregon’s only living Medal of Honor recipient, will present Lembke’s family with special medallions at the dedication. The post will also be giving out their first civilian honor, the “Tualatin VFW American Patriot” award.

The Boones Ferry building, once the Robinson’s Store and more recently Rich’s Kitchen, was set to be demolished by Tualatin’s development commission a few years ago before private developer David Emami stepped up in 2006 to put out the money to preserve the dilapidated structure.

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