Fallen SEAL Honored; $30K Raised for Family

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The bugler with the American Legion Color Guard sounds "Taps" after a 21-gun salute to honor Chief Petty Officer Matt Mills, a Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan this month.

Story and Photos by Lawrence Sherwin

We live in a bubble.

No not the tech or housing bubble. We live in the relatively “perfect Newport Beach life-style” bubble….nice homes, families schools. We are untouched by mass tragedies created by nature and evildoers. Yet we can come together when the bubble bursts and someone else’s pain becomes ours to share.

Keri Wells addresses the crowd at the Palisades Tennis Club on Sunday.

Such was the case at Palisades Tennis Club Sunday where the death in Afghanistan of Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer Matt Mills touched us all. Flags flew proudly along Jamboree and around the club. Christopher Burkhardt, K.C. Fockler, Samantha Mills, club owner Ken Stuart and scores of volunteers arranged for a memorial to honor the fallen SEAL.

His wife, Keri, and 7-month-old son, Cash flew from Virginia Beach, VA. Hundreds of members and guests stood in tearful silence, we sang the national anthem and saluted the newly installed Old Glory atop the club house. A 21-gun salute from the American Legion Honor Guard was culminated by a flyover by a World War II Navy plane.

We played tennis for fun, opened our hearts and donated over $30,000 to the Mills family. Importantly, we were reminded that some pay the ultimate sacrifice so we can live in our bubble; that our freedom can be very costly and excruciatingly painful.

The crowd at the Palisades Tennis Club, where a benefit tournament raised $30,000 for the family of Chief Mills.
Flags lined Jamboree Boulevard leading to the Palisades Tennis Club.
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  1. Navy SEAL CPO Matt Mills, his fellow warriors and his wife and son were all thanked for their service and sacrifice by this very nice memorial service. Thanks to everyone at the Palisades Tennis Club for their terrific tribute to a fallen SEAL and his family. Story and photos very well done by Guest Contributor Lawrence Sherwin.