Sharon Rogers doesn’t come from a military background. She doesn’t have close family members who have served, and until recently, she hadn’t spent much time thinking about military members’ sacrifices. But when she read stories about 1st Lt. Todd Weaver’s death in September, she was driven to learn more and share his story.
Rogers, a member of the Williamsburg Storytelling Collaborative, will tell Weaver’s story tonight at the Collaborative’s concert, “Stories That Make a Difference – A Soldier’s Sacrifice.” The concert begins at 7 p.m. in the Kimball Theatre and will benefit the 1st Lt. Todd Weaver Memorial Award at the College of William and Mary. The event is “pay what you can,” but tickets are required; unclaimed ticket seats will be given away at show time. The concert has been underwritten by American Pride Automotive.
During the concert, storytellers will speak about the lives of those who have fought, have served and continue to serve their country. They’ll touch on the struggles of being away, coming home and adjusting to change. In an interview with Tide Radio, Rogers said one performer will talk about her father’s experiences as a British serviceman in both World Wars.
Weaver was known for his drive, charm and sense of duty. He was a talented quarterback at Bruton High School when the Sept. 11 attacks occurred and his wife (who was a high school classmate) recalled that the attacks were a call to action for him. “His duty was to protect our country and our interests at home,” she said in an interview with Tide Radio.
He joined the Army National Guard and served a 10-month deployment in Iraq. He returned to Williamsburg to earn his degree in government from the College of William and Mary, where he was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. Upon graduation, he was commissioned into the U.S. Army through the ROTC program.
He died Sept. 9 in Kandahar, Afghanistan when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Ky. He is survived by his wife, his daughter Kiley, his parents, two sisters and one brother.
He is already memorialized with a tree in his honor in the Wren Yard at William and Mary. Now, his family would like to honor his interests by awarding a scholarship annually to pay for a government or international relations student to study abroad. To ensure the award will be endowed in perpetuity, the family must raise $50,000 in one year; so far, they’ve raised more than $35,000. Emma said that in the history of the college, no other family has raised this amount of money for a scholarship. She hopes people will pause this Memorial Day weekend to remember those who are called to serve.
“I think sometimes America tends to commercialize. It’s not about going out and getting a new car or buy one, get one half-off mattresses,” she said. “We need to focus and remember and honor the people that we’ve lost.”