Saturday, February 24, 2007

Donnie Belser laid to rest

Friends and family of Capt. Donnie Ray Belser, Jr. filed by American flags and saluting veterans for funeral services at New Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church Monday.

Belser's life was cut short February 10, while serving his country on a second tour of duty in Iraq.

Belser is remembered as a great friend, loving family man and respected soldier. "He knew this was bottom line what he wanted to do, there's a sense of peace to know that he died doing what he did love," said his friend Capt. Roger Cabiness.

The 28 year old soldier was a former state wrestling champ. He graduated from Saks High School with honors in 1997. He went to college at Jacksonville State, and graduated with honors in 2001. Just before graduation, Belser married his sweetheart Marshawn. The couple eventually had a daughter and son.

Belser died on his son's first birthday. Friends say the day before he died, the loving father used a web cam to sing Happy Birthday to Myles. Then, days five after his death, Belser's family received one last surprise. "They received a birthday present from him Thursday that he'd already mailed, it was a diaper bag and it was in the Army fatigue with his name on it and everything," said family friend Michelle Busse.

Friends of the fallen soldier remember Belser as a man who was respected by his peers and trusted by his superiors. Belser's High School buddy Tallarius Likely was in shock about his friend's sudden death. "You see it on the news so much, these guys getting killed over in Iraq, I guess it takes something closer to home to make you realize the actual impact that it's having on peoples lives right now," said Likely.

Henry Munoz can't believe his best friend is gone. They had made plans for retirement following several more years of military service. "He always talked about he wanted to retire and get his retirement check and just drive a big yellow school bus," said Munoz. The military friends talked about working at the same school, Munoz wanted to retire as a soccer coach. He now says, he'll have to change his plans and drive a school bus in his friend's honor.

Belser was posthumously honored with the Combat Action Badge, Purple Heart and Bronze Star. He was buried Monday afternoon at Jefferson Memorial Gardens.

From WIAT 42

Related Link:
Donnie R. Belser slain by sniper