Sgt. David Coullard always wanted to be a Marine, ready and proud to serve his country. His mom, Anita Dziedzic remembers that commitment and shared her conversation with him after he was wounded, earning his first Purple Heart.
“I said, ‘You’re going to come home, right? And heal up?’ And he goes .. I could hear him laughing at me on the phone from Iraq,” said Dziedzic.
Coullard returned to duty after recovering from that bullet wound. In August 2005, Dziedzic said the Marine sniper and his six-man team were killed in an ambush.
In honor of his sacrifice, on a Glastonbury trail, a monument stands. Visiting the monument Wednesday evening, everything is back in its place after the family said it was vandalized twice.
“The benches were flipped over. The American flags were ripped and pinned to the ground with sticks. And the monument itself was pushed over and smashed,” said Mike Monaco.
Marine Mike Monaco said he and Coullard were in Iraq at the same time.
“When David lost his life, I remember that night. I remember the helicopters coming in and heard a scout sniper team had been taken out,” said Monaco.
Monaco created a monument for Coullard about four years ago and says they continue to add to it. While he never knew Coullard, he considers him and his mother family. So the vandalism, the chipped stone and dents in Coullard’s plaque, is personal. Monaco said the first vandalism incident happened about two weeks ago and that it was relatively minor. He was able to quickly put it back together. The second time caused a lot more damage.
“The fact that we have individuals out here that are doing this makes me sick,” said Monaco.
“I could hear my son: ‘Don’t worry about it, Mama. It’s going to be OK.’ So that’s why I’m relatively calm,” said Dziedzic.
Dziedzic visits the monument often, sitting on a bench made just for her. She can’t understand why someone would target the place honoring her only child.
As the news spread about what happened, offers to help have poured in from the community. Monaco said that support will be used to continue to make sure Coullard and his sacrifice are remembered.
“All they did was bring us together even more. We’re going to have more funds to put this thing together. We’re going to have people down here watching this site,” said Monaco.
Several family friends have put together a reward for information leading to an arrest, and we’re told it stands at more than $6,700.
Police said Friday that they identified a 14-year-old young man from Glastonbury as the person responsible for the damage.
If you’d like to donate to fix and improve the monument, Monaco asks that you donate to https://www.mcldet40.org/.