LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) – A Gold Star wife’s determination to perpetuate the memory of her late husband has always meant taking on new challenges.
In 2019, Emily Chambers ran a marathon in honor of Marine Corporal Nich Dieruf, who was killed in Iraq in 2004 as a newlywed. This week, she is back home in Kentucky after a trip to the top of an Alaskan mountain in remembrance of Dieruf.
The hike at Golden Star Peak is two miles, 4000 feet elevation, no switchbacks.
“It was a tough climb, but nothing compared to the heartache of losing someone,” Chambers said. “Nothing compared to what our soldiers undergo on a daily basis. “
17 years after her husband’s death, Chambers says Dieruf is still on her mind. Her memory is the reason why, when she discovered Gold Star Peak in 2019, she was determined to complete the hike in her honor. COVID-19 meant the trip was delayed, but in August she was finally able to make the trip with her husband Dwayn and a few friends.
Gold Star Peak is located outside of Anchorage, Alaska. According to military.com, state lawmakers approved its official name in 2018.
For Chambers, the view from the top of Gold Star Peak was a reminder of her late husband’s sacrifice.
“Now that he’s gone, it’s the best way to heal,” she said. “The best way to honor him.”
She was even able to place Dieruf’s nameplate at the top, next to the nameplates of other Marines killed during the same period.
“It’s just the way we keep him alive in our hearts,” she said.
Chambers left knowing that Dieruf is always with her, every step of the way.
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