When Doug Green announced his decision to join the Army, the news stunned his family.
Three years later, when Green was killed in action in Afghanistan, the news rocked an entire Loudoun community.
To honor Green’s sacrifice and keep his memory alive, his family established the Doug Green Memorial Foundation, which helps raise the spirits of active-duty military members by sending them care packages of treats and comforts they might otherwise go without while deployed.
To that end, family and friends will gather for the sixth annual Douglas J. Green Memorial Foundation fundraiser from noon to 7 p.m. on March 7 at Velocity Wings in Sterling.
“It’s a way to bring the community together in Doug’s name and to help keep his memory alive,” said Krissy Carraciolo, Green’s sister. “People can come and keep Doug’s memory alive and they are giving back to a great cause of helping those who defend our country.”
Carraciolo said her brother was always patriotic, but he did not make the decision to go into the military immediately after he graduated from Potomac Fall High School. “He was always super passionate about his country,” Carraciolo said. “He went to NOVA (Northern Virginia Community College) and was studying politics. He eventually wanted to be a senator.”
Then, Green made the decision in 2008 to enlist and take a more direct hand in showing his patriotism.
“I will never forget that day as long as I live,” Carraciolo said. “He took me to Chick-fil-A and I was the first person to find out.. I could feel my heart beating out of my chest. We tried to talk him out of it, but he had already signed his enlistment forms. He didn’t want anyone to talk him out of it.”
Green did a tour of duty in Iraq and was home for leave just before he deployed to Afghanistan in 2011. Carraciolo saw positive and negative changes in her brother from his time in the military.
“He became 100 percent a man,” she said. “It was like he morphed into this grown, mature man. He was 20 months younger than me, but now he seemed like he was my older brother and he was going to take care of me. It was cool to see.”
Carraciolo also saw that his year in Iraq had troubling effects on her brother.
“He definitely seemed to have some PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder),” she said. “Right before he left to go to Afghanistan, we went to Arlington Cemetery. He said, ‘The next time you see me, I am going to be buried here.’” Tragically, that prediction came true.
Green had just about finished his service and was about a month away from being rotated out of Afghanistan, and he was looking forward to coming home and marrying his fiancée, Alicia. He was killed Aug 28, 2011, when insurgents attacked his unit and he was hit with an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade).
“He was not going to re-enlist,” Carraciolo said. “He only had three or four more weeks in Afghanistan and he would have gone back to the base in Alaska.”
The news of Green’s death reverberated through the Potomac Falls community.
“People were just living at our house, taking care of us,” Carraciolo said. “We did a celebration of life at Potomac Fall gym, and every seat was filled and the bleachers were packed.”
At Green’s celebration of life, 15 songs were played from a list Green had included in a letter he gave to his finance before his last deployment. The list varied from the Beatles, to Frank Sinatra, to Alice in Chains.
“He selected the order the songs were to be played,” Carraciolo said. “Everyone was special to him and was about a part of his life. I still hear those songs, and everyone makes a connection with me.”
During the grieving process, the family decided to start the foundation and use it to send packages to the military deployed overseas.
“That is a cause that is very near and dear to our hearts,” Carraciolo said. “We have sent out over 10,000 care packages. We put in snacks, chips, candy, and things like hygiene products and socks. Little comforts from home they can’t get overseas. My mom started her own company, called ‘Whoa! Toffee’, and that is included.”
Velocity Wings was selected to host the annual fundraisers because it was special to Green. “When he would come home on leave, that was his place to go, Carraciolo said. “It’s like home to us.”
A portion of the purchases between noon and 7 p.m. on March 9 will be donated to the foundation. There will also be a silent auction, including items like a Washington Capitals jersey signed by Alex Ovechkin, flat screen TV, and iPads.
For more information, visit djgmf.org.