Saturday, April 14, 2007

Joey (Joseph H.) Cantrell laid to rest

The muffled crackle of seven rifles firing outside broke the silence at Fairview Baptist Church as mourners gathered yesterday to remember a Boyd County soldier killed in Iraq.

Sobbing rose with the gunfire during funeral services for Cpl. Joey Cantrell, 23, who was killed by a roadside bomb April 4 in Taji, Iraq. The blast also claimed the life of Sgt. Jerry C. Burge of Mississippi. Burge and Cantrell were members of the U.S. Army 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

Seven soldiers folded the flag that covered Cantrell's casket, and a general handed the triangular bundle to Cantrell's mother, Sondra Adkins, The Ashland Independent reported.

"He was a patriot, and he was brave," said Gen. Philip Hanrahan. "He enlisted knowing our country was at war, and he enlisted knowing he would have to go and fight in that war. I know he had compassion for his fellow soldiers and the citizens of Iraq ... I know he was a leader."

Bob Morrison, a retired teacher, administrator and coach in the Fairview school district, fought off tears as he talked about the loss of a beloved member of the community.

"We never know why this happens. ... I've watched Joey's mom for six days; I feel so sorry for the family," he said.

Cantrell was one of three Kentuckians killed in Iraq during the first week of April.

Army Spec. William G. Bowling, 24, of Beattyville, was killed April 1. A funeral for Naval Chief Petty Officer Gregory J. Billiter will be held today in Crescent Springs. Billiter, 36, of Villa Hills, was killed on April 6.

Morrison spoke to Cantrell about twice a month while the young soldier was in training, and saw Cantrell about three days before he was deployed to Iraq. He said Cantrell always wanted to know what was going on at the school he loved so much.

"It's hard after you've taught someone and been with him all those years, to see him go like that," Morrison said. "Joey was our hero. He was a friend. He was highly thought of in this community."

From the Herald Leader

Related Link:
Joey (Joseph H.) Cantrell dies of injuries from I.E.D.