LEE -- A local nursery has planned a Memorial Day weekend fundraiser in memory of Edward S. Passetto to benefit area homeless veterans.

On Saturday and Sunday, Clark's Nursery in South Lee will match all sales tax on plants and gardening items, the money raised donated on Passetto's behalf to Soldier On in Pittsfield, according to the family-run business.

Clark's will also put out a collection jar at its Route 102 location for those wishing to make personal donations in Passetto's name.

Soldier On is a nonprofit organization that provides housing for needy veterans in the Berkshires.

Passetto, a Lee native, was a 28-year-old Marine Corps veteran of Pittsfield who died May 11 in an apparent suicide on Monument Mountain in Great Barrington. He had long struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.

Brittany Clark, daughter of owner Rodney Clark, was a classmate of Passetto's, and graduated from Lee Middle and High School in 2004. Clark says her family felt compelled to do something to honor Passetto who battled the Veterans Affairs over his claim for disability benefits.

"I work in he mental health field and deal with the struggles of having limited resources available," Brittany Clark said.

She added, "It is so frustrating to wait while insurance companies and [government agencies] fight over who's responsible to foot the bill, while someone is struggling, waiting for an answer."

Passetto spent seven years in the Marines.


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As a Marine, he served one tour of duty each in Iraq and Afghanistan and is credited with risking his life to save two people from a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. Passetto received a medical discharge in March 2011.

Clark's will also put out a collection jar at its Route 102 location for those wishing to make personal donations in Passetto's name.