Saturday, April 14, 2007

Adam (Clifford A.) Spohn remembered

Adam Spohn left a permanent mark on Cibola High School and on the hearts of those he touched on and off stage.

They called him "Spohn," the short, scrappy, nuts-and-bolts kid with a singing voice heavier and deeper than his audiences expected, said his drama teacher, Aleita Kiwanuka.

He was the student who brought the school's choir and drama students together, who produced a teachers' play and opened the door for students to produce their original plays on the Cibola stage.

"He was a hero even before he went to Iraq because of what he did at Cibola," Kiwanuka said.

Army Spc. Clifford Adam Spohn III, 21, was killed in Iraq on Monday while working at an Iraqi police station in Karmah. Three other paratroopers were injured.

A 2004 Cibola graduate who joined the Army five months after receiving his diploma, Spohn was a paratrooper assigned to Fort Richardson, Alaska.

He and his wife, Amanda, lived in Alaska with their daughter, Raynee, a family spokesman said.

Spohn joined the Army in October 2004 and was assigned to Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.

Word of his death reached Cibola on Tuesday.

"His little sister and her friend were at my door waiting. She knew I loved Adam and didn't want me to hear about him over the announcements," Kiwanuka said.

Kiwanuka and English teacher Travis Lytle both received a visit last year from Spohn, who came to school in his Army uniform. He brought his wife with him.

"He was so dedicated to what he was doing," Kiwanuka said. "He was a very honorable young man and that's why he went to the war - to help others and do the right thing in life."

Spohn's two younger sisters, Laura and Shannon, currently attend Cibola. His younger brother, Daniel, was a 2005 Cibola grad. He also has an older sister, Helen Marie Nogaj.

Spohn's parents are Clifford and Sandy Spohn, said the family spokesman, Dever Langholf.

Kiwanuka said she got to know the family well during the two years Adam was in drama. He had a part in all the school's musicals.

"It wasn't important for him to be a star," she said. "He just wanted to be involved.

"Adam loved the arts. At the same time, he didn't lose sight of his responsibility to himself, his family, his teachers and the people who were counting on him," she said.

"He was an incredible kid, a caring person, a good-natured person with a good sense of humor. I don't think I ever saw him mad."

Cibola teacher Lytle allowed Spohn to produce his original play written for a graduate project, "The Tragedy of Owen Richard," a 25-minute takeoff of Shakespeare's Richard III.

"They really made me proud with the piece," Lytle said of Spohn and the all-student cast.

"I can't tell you how impressed I was. They blew me away."

Afterwards, Lytle encouraged other students to write and produce their own shows and S-Troop was born.

Spohn and his cast were the precursor and "convinced me this could be done, that the students could rise to the occasion," Lytle said.

A service of prayer and remembrance is scheduled at Fort Richardson, according to an Army news release.

The family is planning a memorial service in Albuquerque. Details will be announced as soon as arrangements are made, family spokesman Langholf said.

From the Tribune

Related Link:
Clifford A. Spohn III dies of injuries from indirect fire attack