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Kristopher North never knew Army Specialist Mikayla Bragg, but he wanted to make sure everyone remembered her.

"I overheard her mother say that in six to eight months no one would will remember who she was, and that's when it hit me," North said, recalling a moment during January's celebration of life service for the fallen Longview solider.

So North, a 43-year-old Longview Army veteran, started raising money to build a memorial for Bragg a few weeks later.

Bragg, a 2008 Mark Morris High School graduate, was shot and killed Dec. 20 while on guard duty in Afghanistan's southeast border region. She was 21.

Bragg was almost two weeks away from finishing her first deployment when she died. She was the first Cowlitz County soldier killed in a combat zone since the Vietnam War. Her death is still under investigation, and specific details have not been released.

North has raised $2,500 to build a 44-inch tall bronze fallen soldier battle cross in a courtyard at Mark Morris. However, donations have dried up over the past few weeks, and he has to raise the remaining $2,500 by the end of April if the memorial is to be built before the end of the school year in June.

"It's really important," said Steve Bragg, her father. "She influenced a lot of people at the school. ... It's something we'd like to have done so future generations know that freedom comes at a price, and to let everyone know who she was and the sacrifice she gave."

Another memorial for Mikayla s planned later this month, when a memorial tree is planted for her at Lake Sacajawea.

Bragg and North said raising the final $2,500 would be a tall task, but that it could be done. They're organizing fundraisers to make the final push.

"If I had a way to put up one for everyone who died over there, I would," North said. "But if I can help people just remember one of them, I'm doing my part."

Donations to the Mikayla Bragg Memorial Fund can be made at any Fibre Federal Credit Union location.

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