Kelsee Lainhart may still be miles from home, but Dearborn County is still standing with her, fundraising for the East Central High alum during a memorial event on 9/11.
Lainhart was one of 15 U.S. service members injured in the attack, according to her father, Glen Lainhart.
The event was planned before a suicide bombing rocked the outside of the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, in August, but once the community learned one of their own was injured in the blast, focus pivoted a bit.
"September 11 is a somber moment anyway, and what happened to Kelsee is heartbreaking," said Chris Green, organizer of the Colerain Veterans Memorial. "I just help veterans the best way I can. When I see she's a local girl, I added her to the 9/11 memorial that we already had scheduled."
Attendees made donations and, to help with the fundraising, a wooden sculpture of an eagle stood tall, carved in her honor. Chainsaw artist Stephen Gore said helping people through art is powerful.
"It brings hope and she knows by watching this that there are people out here that seriously care and are working on her behalf so all she has to do is heal," said Gore.
Lainhart's mother has updated a CaringBridge page with her recent medical journey toward recovery, but she's still got a long way to go. In the meantime, the Dearborn County community has continued to champion for her, to make her healing easier.
"We're here for her and that's our sister," said Gore.