The words on the name tag of Ryan C. Garbs’ bronze bust at the Edwardsville City Park read “Our Sons”.
The monument was inspired by the life and death of the U.S. Army Ranger Specialist who was killed In
Action on February 18, 2007 in Afghanistan at the age of 20. His parents, Douglas and Jill Garbs, wanted
to memorialize all Edwardsville’s sons who died in wars since 1900. There are 77 names listed on granite
stones on each side of the bust.
Douglas Garb said the idea to include others came the day of his only son’s funeral when he encountered
the parents of a college buddy, 1st LT. David Boyle, USMC, who was also a fallen soldier. Dave’s mom and
dad came up through the visitation line. When our eyes met, I was like: I hadn’t thought of Dave since '83.
And right then I knew I was going to do something so we wouldn't forget. And I was not only going to honor
Dave, my friend, I'm going to find some of the other guys.”
The result of Garbs’ quest is the Ryan C. Garbs Gold Star Monument, a memorial that stands in front of the
Edwardsville Public Library. A dedication ceremony took place on Saturday, April 21, 2012.
Garbs said the monument is a testimony to the generosity of the Edwardsville community. Countless individuals,
businesses and organizations have helped the Garbs family raise $75,000 to erect the monument, from the
$10,000 donation from the Edwardsville Rotary Club to an 86-cent donation from an Alton woman who taped the
coins to an index card with a note saying it was all she could afford."This journey has been extraordinary and so
many people have stepped up to help," Garbs said. “As time went on, it evolved into what it is today — just
remarkable.”Garbs said Ryan was a special man, who represents so many others.
- Edited from St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Suburban Journals article dated April 19, 2012