Sunday, August 21, 2005

War hits home in Loganville,GA

This is a sad week here in Loganville, Georgia. One of our hometown boys was killed by an IED this past week. I did not know SPC Stokely, or his family. My only connection to him is the fact that a) our families live in the exact same town, and b) our church, The Orchard Untied Methodist Church, currently meets at Loganville High School, where Spc. Stokely graduated in 2001. It was very eerie walking into that building this morning for church, knowing that not too long ago, a hero was here...and that now he would never be back. I definately got choked up ~ and stayed choked up~as I walked into the building this a.m. The pastor, of course, made mention of the sacrifice of SPC Stokely, and special prayers were said for his family. My prayers are with the Stokely family ~ and ALL families that have lost a loved one in the War on Terror.

Thank you ALL for your service. We are forever in your debt.

Below is the article News Editor Robbie Schwartz (who wrote that wonderful article about Sgt. Missick's visit to our home a few weeks ago) and James Faucett wrote for The Walton Tribune.

Loganville Soldier Dies in Iraq
From staff reports

The Walton Tribune
Published August 21, 2005

LOGANVILLE — Even at a young age, Spc. Michael Stokely knew he wanted to be a soldier. In his high school yearbook, Stokely quoted Gen. Douglas MacArthur about the valors of war.Shortly before departing for Iraq, Stokely told the
Tribune he was eager to go to war. “I was pretty excited,” he said of learning he was being sent overseas. “I’d been kind of wanting to go for a while. It gets kind of irritating, taking this long to train up.”On Tuesday, Stokely was killed when he reportedly stepped on an improvised explosive device at an undisclosed location in Iraq. The 23 year old was a specialist with the Georgia National Guard, 48th Brigade. A 2001 graduate of Loganville High School, Stokely is remembered as a friendly face amid the busy hallways. “Michael was
one of those students that you may not have taught but you knew,” said Hank Evans, who was a coach and teacher at LHS at the time. “This was devastating. Michael never knew a stranger. He always had a smile on his face, was friendly and quick to say ‘hey.’ “For me, that is what I will remember most about him.”At LHS, Stokely was a soccer player, a basketball cheerleader, a member of several clubs and was named “Student of the Quarter.” He was also involved with the ROTC.Rich Colvin knew Stokely both as a student at Loganville High School and as a soldier.

Colvin taught U.S. History and remembers Stokely as a hard–working kid who was always upbeat and never down. Colvin served with the 48th, the same brigade as Stokely, although he was on the tail end of his service as his young student was enlisting. When Colvin came back from serving in Bosnia, he went into the reserves but one of his most vivid memories of his student was when he returned stateside.“When I got back from Bosnia, seeing him in his uniform, I was very proud,” Colvin said. “You could see it in his face. Michael took pride in what he was doing. Michael was the type of young man who couldn’t sit on the sidelines.”“It was a pleasure to know him and be associated with him,” Colvin said.Colvin said that Stokely e-mailed him a few weeks ago, telling his former teacher and fellow soldier that he was coming home soon on leave. But Colvin
knows and takes solace in the fact Stokely was a good soldier, one who looked out for those around him. And Colvin knows that was what he was doing. Stokely joined the Army National Guard in 2000 and was trained as a calvary
scout. He was doing construction work and completing an associate’s degree in political science at Georgia Military College when he was called up for full-time duty last fall.“I saw him before he went overseas, and he told me he was probably about to be shipped off,” said Ashlee Lindsey, a friend of Stokely's for 10 years. “I was just like, ‘Gosh, Mike, I am sorry. Be careful.’ And then I see it on the news ... It hits home when you actually know someone that has been killed
over there.”In late April, Stokely and fellow LHS
graduates and friends Sgt. Alden Williams and Sgt. Charles Crowder had returned from Ft. Irwin, Calif., where they were training. In May, just days before he left, he married his high school sweetheart, Niki.Upon hearing the news, as Georgians across the state participated in a statewide moment of silence on Thursday in honor of Georgia’s 48th Brigade, emotions hit home. At Monroe Area High School’s dedication ceremony, officials reminded everyone Stokely was a great person, a great soldier, and said Stokely made a great sacrifice for his country.

“Anytime a life is lost, it is a tragedy and a tragic event,” Rep. Jeff May (R-111) said after the ceremony. “Everyone sacrifices during a time of war and some people make the ultimate sacrifice. [Stokely’s family] should know that our
hearts and thoughts are with them.”Loganville officials ordered flags lowered to half-mast to honor
Stokely. Loganville American Legion Post 233 also lowered
its flag and on Thursday was helping the family arrange a memorial ceremony for when Stokely comes home. Commander Bobby Boss said soldiers who come home
deserve as dignified a ceremony as fallen police officers.“These boys are serving the country just like the police are,” he said. “We have to make sure that it is done right.”

16 comments:

~K said...

I have goose bumps reading this. I will continue praying for the family. Commander Bobby Boss was a God Send I bet.

Kat said...

They are all definately in my prayers. I got a copy of that newspaper, and put it in my scrapbook. He won't be forgotten!!!!

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