Wednesday, May 09, 2007

David Kirkpatrick laid to rest

UPLAND -- The words "hero", "dedication" and "service" were echoed throughout Rediger Auditorium Tuesday morning during funeral services for Pfc. David Austin Kirkpatrick.

Friends, family and several service men and women filled the auditorium on Taylor University's campus to pay their respects to the fallen soldier and his surviving family members.

"Today, we hope not to only celebrate and honor the life of David Kirkpatrick. We also hope to bring comfort," said the Rev. Joe Ruberg. "He died a hero's death."

Kirkpatrick, a 2006 Eastbrook High School graduate, was killed April 27 while serving in Iraq with the 57th Cavalry out of Fort Stewart, Ga. He had been riding in the machine gunner position in a Humvee when an improvised explosive device detonated near Fallujah.

Another soldier who was David's friend also died, and Kirkpatrick's sergeant was injured in the incident.

While his family did not speak, they wrote a few notes about their loved one that was read by Ruberg.

They described the 20-year-old as quiet, but hard working, and said that he loved being in the Army.

His sister, Carrie, wrote about the picture that was on the front of his obituary program. The picture was taken right after Kirkpatrick graduated from basic training.

"We were amazed to find him so changed already," she wrote. "He wrote letters often saying he loved us. He initiated hugs when he would have squirmed away from us girls' hugs."

His family said even when he was young, he traded his love for farming and tractors for guns and camouflage.

"It's amazing to me that as a small child, David wanted to be a service man," Dr. Tom Mansbarger said to the audience. "Some people get it right at an earlier age and they are able to accomplish it."

Ruberg said the family was told that the other soldier who was killed had been teaching Kirkpatrick magic tricks, which he always wanted to show off. All of the Army officials the family spoke with said he was a good soldier.

Maj. Gen. Roger Nadeau, speaking on behalf of Gen. George W. Casey Jr., Chief of Staff of the Army, presented the family with Kirkpatrick's bronze star medal and the Purple Heart for his service.

Nadeau also had kind words for the family from Kirkpatrick's Army unit and commander, who said they had a memorial service in Iraq for the fallen soldier.

"Pfc. David Kirkpatrick was a moderate, quiet man and his passion was his beat-up pickup truck," said Nadeau, reading one of the statements from Kirkpatrick's unit.

Another note spoke of his always quiet but friendly demeanor.

"Although he didn't smile often, when he did, it would light up the room," Nadeau read.

Kirkpatrick was the fifth person with Grant County ties to be killed while serving overseas since November 2004 and the second Eastbrook High School soldier to die.

From the Star Press

Related Link:
David Kirkpatrick remembered

Related Link:
David A. Kirkpatrick dies of injuries from I.E.D.