November 23, 2019
Letter to the Editor
From the Rev. Lawrence A. Washburn
“Why did they name it Champagne Heights?”
This year on a recent visit to Rhode Island, I was asked that question by a local Wakefield RI resident who knew that I had been chairman of the South Kingstown Housing Authority in the 1970s when the Curtis Corner housing development was built.
The Champagne name is NOT a beverage as some people have joked about. We should have insisted that the name David be included on the sign.
Corporal David Champagne was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Bernard L. Champagne of Wakefield. He was a 1951 graduate of South Kingstown High School and served as a Marine in the Korean war. He received the Medal of Honor and it was in recognition of his distinguished service that Champagne Heights was named for him. In honor of his sacrifice, the US Senate approved legislation in 1997 to name the new post office in Wakefield the David B. Champagne Post Office. The shadow box of Corporal Champagne’s military decorations is displayed in the lobby along with a plaque commemorating the occasion.
In the same token, Fournier Estates on High Street was named for Sergeant William Fournier, a Sergeant in the United States Army. He was killed at the Battle of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. Sergeant Fournier’s Medal of Honor was presented posthumously at an award ceremony at the University of Rhode Island in 1943, and his family donated it to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 916 in Wakefield.
Both housing developments were named to honor war heroes from the Wakefield Community. These fallen heroes should be remembered each time you see their names on these two developments.
The Reverend Lawrence A. Washburn
Pastor Emeritus, Peace Dale Congregational Church, UCC
Chairman of South Kingstown Housing Authority 1961-1977