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Husband of 9-11 Pentagon Victim Establishes Memorial Foundation

by Nathan Tsoi
militarylifestyle.com Staff Writer

March 27, 2002

Donn Marshall speaks at the first storytelling event at the Patrick Henry Library in Vienna, Va. Vienna, VA The attacks of 9-11 brought not only a profound sadness to families and friends of the victims, but also a sense of confusion and upheaval in the midst of loss. The husband of one Pentagon victim is determined to turn that frustration and sorrow into a legacy honoring her memory. Donn Marshall has established the Shelley A. Marshall Foundation, named after his wife, who worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency and was killed in the attack on the Pentagon.

Marshall established the foundation in his wife's name as a way to give something back to their hometowns through community service. Activities that had meaning for Shelley are held in Morgantown, W.Va., his hometown, and Vienna, Va., her hometown, to bring laughter and joy to participants, both young and old.

In the first of a series of children's storytelling and concert events at the Patrick Henry Library, Marshall talked about the foundation's genesis. Accompanied by his son, Drake, and daughter, Chandler, he said that after such deep tragedy, he had to do something to "give his sorrow meaning." As a young girl, his wife loved to read at the same library. Knowing that reading as a child enriched Shelley's life, Marshall decided that other children from her hometown should have the opportunity to discover the magic of libraries. In an age of videotapes, television, and DVDs, "there is still a certain magic through reading," he said.

A group of approximately 50 children and their parents attended the event and heard storyteller Charlotte Smutko and guitarist Richard Senerchia present "Stories and Songs from the British Isles." Attendees of all ages were entertained by whimsical tales and tunes of giants, fair maidens, imps, and unjust kings. Audience participation livened up the hour-long presentation.
After the program, Marshall explained that there are other activities planned to enrich and benefit local communities. "We decided to throw tea parties at senior centers, and that sort of evolved to the point where I went to her old high school and talked to the National Honor Society where they volunteered to come out as well," he told militarylifestyle.com. "So we have seniors sitting down with high school students."

Shelley's love of writing is also remembered through the foundation. "We're also doing creative writing awards at her high school and at George Mason and my college [Hampden-Sydney College]," he said.

While he hopes that many can benefit from the activities and events set up through the foundation, Marshall will always remember why the foundation was initially established. "This has been a good way for me to sort of be in touch with her and for the kids, especially, as they grow up so they can see what their mother was about," Marshall said.
To learn more about the Shelley A. Marshall Foundation, please visit its website, which can be found at www.shelleysfoundation.org.
Copyright 2005 © The Shelley A. Marshall Foundation
14 Ryan Court
Shepardstown, WV 25443

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