Thursday, March 01, 2007

Blake Howey laid to rest

GLENDORA - Before Blake Howey enlisted in the Marines at age 18, family and friends tried to talk him out of it.

After all, this was the same "crazy" teenager who loved to eat at In-N-Out Burger, who encouraged his grandmother to chug a beer and who started mosh pits during a church youth group, they said.

But Howey was also devoted to protecting his loved ones, and welcomed the responsibility, maturity and pride that could come with joining the Marines.

"Everyone tried to talk him out of it, but he was determined," said David Turner, Howey's youth pastor. "He loved his country."

But on Feb. 18, Marine Lance Cpl. Howey, 20, was killed after his convoy was hit with a roadside explosive in the Al Anbar province of Iraq.

Hundreds of relatives, friends and military service personnel attended Howey's funeral on Wednesday, celebrating his life, at Glenkirk Church in Glendora.

"We honor him as a man of courage, dignity, and as one who gave himself for others," Turner said.

Howey, who was born in San Dimas and raised in Glendora, was only a few weeks into his first deployment in Iraq when his convoy was hit.

The explosive killed Howey as he was traveling in a Humvee from Fallujah to Baghdad.

"No matter you're political views of the war, remember, they're out there to protect us," said longtime family friend Samuel Duran.

Howey became the second serviceman from Glendora to be killed in the Iraq war. As of Feb. 28, 3,158 U.S. troops have died in Iraq, according to the Department of Defense.

Howey was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, which is based in Twentynine Palms.

Family members remembered a Howey as a man who loved to snowboard and to tease his 7-year-old sister.

They also remembered a man who was devoted to his family, friends and his faith.

"He will always be his mother's guardian angel," said his grandmother, Arlinda Argeris. "There are no words that describe the loss we had."

Howey is also survived by his mother, Audrey Nichka; his stepfather, Ron Nichka; his sister, Taylor Nichka, 7; and his father, Greg Howey.

Turner said when he spoke to Howey about the future, he could see excitement in Blake's eyes.

"It's not right when someone so young dies, but he lived life," Turner said at Wednesday's memorial services. "He lived life with purpose."

From the Tribune

Related Link:
Blake H. Howey dies of injuries from I.E.D.