Saturday, April 21, 2007

Cody Putnam remembered

Through teary eyes, Mollie Putman watched her daughter run around the living room.

Her daughter's fiery red hair, which she shared with her father, bounced up and down as Madelyn, 3, looked for her green Bug Juice drink.

She played with her young relatives, giggling, while others were crying. Madelyn doesn't understand. She doesn't understand that her father is never coming home or why her mother and grandmother's eyes are so red.

She doesn't fully understand that her father was killed Thursday in Iraq.

Cpl. Cody Putman of Lafayette was killed Thursday in Baghdad when his patrol encountered an improvised explosive device, according to a Department of Defense press release. Cody was a member of the 40th Cavalry Regiment and assigned to the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division based at Fort Richardson, Alaska. He was 22.

"It's nice to have the kids around," said Pam Mow, Cody's mother and an administrative assistant in the department of botany and plant pathology at Purdue.

"It keeps us busy. It helps."

Mollie hugged Madelyn between Bug Juice breaks as Mow looked at the small corner room of her house. It's now filled with Cody's sports uniforms and trophies.

Multi-colored jerseys are draped over the couch and countless trophies cover the surface of a table.

"It's a very new wound that won't heal really fast," Mow said. "Our worst days have probably yet to come."

Mow and the rest of Cody's family are preparing themselves for his body's return home. Cody's body will be flown to the Purdue University Airport later this week.

They were all together only weeks ago. Cody had been home on leave and took his family to Florida for vacation. Ten days after his return to Iraq, Cody was killed. Mollie remembers when the Army came to tell her.

"I looked out the window and I knew it wasn't good," Mollie said. "I thought maybe he had been hurt until I saw their faces."

They then went to Mow's house to tell her. It's been almost a week.

"I was talking to my husband last night and looking up at the sky and I said, 'I can still see Cody walking in the surf on the beach (in Florida),'" said Mow, wiping tears away with her thumbs.

"I still can't believe this has happened," Mow said. "I don't know if that will ever go away."

From the Purdue Exponent

Related Link:
Cody Putnam reported killed in Iraq