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UPDATE: Community outraged after veterans memorial vandalized

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Posted at 12:46 PM, Jan 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-10 20:20:48-05

EATON RAPIDS, Mich. — A $500 reward is being offered for any information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for damaging a veteran's memorial in Eaton Rapid's GAR Memorial Park.

A Battlefield Cross, an upright gun with a helmet on top, was torn off of the memorial dedicated to Eaton Rapids native and United States Marine, Lance Corporal Troy Nealy. Police say the incident happened on Thursday around 10:15 p.m.

Becky George is a volunteer with Morgan’s HUGS. The non-profit helps military families and first responders with needed resources. George knew Nealy and says she's outraged.

"This guy lost his life fighting for us. How can they disrespect him in this way? It makes no sense," said George.

It's a question many in the Eaton Rapids are asking.

A close friend of the Nealy family and former Eaton County Senator Rick Jones tells Fox 47 the entire city is upset over what happened, which is why he decided to put up the $500 reward for anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest or conviction.

"I have no idea whether it was some sort of protester, maybe a drunk person got up there and did it, but somebody broke this monument," said Jones. “I would hope that this individual serves some time in the county jail and pays for the damage."

Eaton Rapids Police say the damage suggests it was done intentionally.

"The monument was affixed with two bolts and the bolts were worked free and eventually broke loose," said Chief Larry Joe Weeks.

LCpl Nealey was killed in combat in Iraq in 2006. The community says the damage done to the memorial opens up unhealed wounds.

"This man and his family haven't hurt anybody and for them to do this-- the only person they're hurting is that family and his friends. It's a real insult to the community," said Greg Myers, Air Force veteran and community member.

"I want to know who did it. One thing I'd like to see is that these people have to answer for this," said Brett Chamberlain.

The monument is being evaluated to determine how to repair it and the cost of those repairs. Police are also checking video footage from local businesses.

If you have information regarding this incident please contact the Eaton Rapids Police Department at 517-663-8118.

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