Friday, March 09, 2007

Darrel Kasson dies of injuries from I.E.D.

A Florence man has died from a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq.

Staff Sgt. E6 Darrel Kasson, 43, was driving back to base from a mission when his Humvee was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED), according his wife, Lori. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday in the Florence High School gym. All American flags at town government buildings and at the Florence American Legion will be at half staff.

Army representatives came to Florence to report the news to Lori Kasson Sunday night. Two others in the vehicle reportedly survived the blast.
Darrel Kasson was born and raised in Tucson, and he and his family have lived in Florence for almost 14 years. He worked with the Arizona Department of Corrections in Florence for 17 years. The Kassons have three children, ages 22, 19 and 15, and two grandchildren.

Two weeks ago Darrel achieved 20 years with the Arizona Army National Guard, where he worked in field artillery and drove tanks. He had asked to retire last fall, but the National Guard declined and sent him to Iraq in October to work as an MP.

Kasson served at Camp Anaconda in Balad, which is some 50 miles north of Baghdad in an area known as the Sunni Triangle. His weekend mission was to transport contractors to a work site.

Lori said she spoke with her husband by phone for about 20 minutes Friday, and he expressed worry about the mission. "He just felt funny about this one," she said, and the couple prayed together over the phone.

Darrel did home repair and improvements for Mandell & Associates and others for nearly as long as the family has lived in Florence, his wife said.

He also did extensive repairs and remodeling on the Florence Baptist Church building at Butte Avenue and Willow Street. Pastor Dale Storm said Darrel had a talent for a variety of tasks. "He could do auto mechanics, carpentry, just about anything.

"He enjoyed helping other people," Storm continued. "And he enjoyed working with kids." Darrel led all of the church's youth programs for four years. He was also an active leader in a softball league for state prison employees.

In a written statement, the family thanked all those who've been praying for Darrel during his months in Iraq. "Darrel passed on doing one of his greatest passions, and that was serving his country," the statement said.

From the Dispatch