Monday, May 28, 2007

Coty Phelps remembered

BULLHEAD CITY - He'll be remembered by friends for waking up at 4 a.m. to make eggs and watch “Dumb and Dumberer.” His buddies will cherish his abilities to make anyone laugh and act out “every line in every movie.” Others will recall how proud he was when he learned to flip eggs in a frying pan, or how he once ate four night crawlers, three goldfish and gourmet cat food during a dare game at church camp.

Spc. Coty J. Phelps, 20, died when a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle in Iskandariya, Iraq, on May 17. Two other soldiers were also killed during the blast in a war that currently lists more than 3,400 casualties.

Born in Lake Havasu City, Phelps was a paralegal who graduated from Kingman High School North in 2004 and enlisted in the Army at the Bullhead City recruiting station. He was stationed a year later at Fort Richardson in Alaska, where he was assigned to the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division.

Funeral services are scheduled today in Kingman.

Phelps is survived by his father, Robbie, of Kingman; two brothers and a sister.

In Bullhead City, Phelps will be remembered by friends as a “happy go-lucky kid” that liked swimming and riding a personal watercraft across Lake Mohave.

Donna Jordan, a friend's mom who works at a hair salon inside Bullhead City's Wal-Mart, said she'll remember the Mother's Day wishes Phelps sent her shortly before his death.

Phelps called his family from Iraq late Wednesday night (May 16) and said that no matter how far away he was, he'd always be looking out for them.

“He was on (social networking Web site) myspace that day and he was able to contact his mom and dad that night. It was his little brother's birthday and he called home to wish him a happy birthday,” she said. “He was just wishing me a happy Mother's Day, because Mother's Day had just passed, and telling us he was OK.”

Phelps “practically lived” in the Jordan home when he was in high school, said Donna's daughter Kristen, and came over to hang-out with Donna's son Andrew, who lives in Bullhead City and had been Phelps' best friend since elementary school.

“I looked up to him a lot,” Kristen said. “He was always there no matter what. If anything was wrong with me, I could talk to him about it and he'd stick up for me.”

“He's the only kid I know that got out of the U.S. Army just to go to church camp,” Donna said. “He even took his little brother and paid his way because he loved him so much.”

Phelps loved being a soldier and playing dodge ball, Kristen added, and became a hero to the 16-year-old, teaching her values like respect.

Phelps' profile page on myspace lists favorite movies like “Office Space” and bands like Blink-182. It says he's a Gemini living in Alaska who'd like to have kids one day and considers veterans his heroes.

When news of his death reached family, friends and fellow soldiers, Phelps' profile page quickly filled with comments:

-- I hear about soldiers dying in Iraq all the time and it hasn't truly hit me until I heard about you. You'll be in my prayers and I'm sure you're up in heaven, making everyone laugh as you usually do.

-- Coty this isn't goodbye this is truly I will see you when I see you. I heard you this morning again in my room telling me to move over, either my mind is playing tricks on me or you heard my prayers.

-- Today was a hard day. i watched at the airport as they flew in your body and unloaded it. your family was all there. then when i was leaving there was 100's of people lining the street with flags. it was so sad but i know your in a better place. It just seems like the other day we were in high school.

From the Mohave Daily News

Related Link:
Coty J. Phelps dies of 'of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle'