Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Ray Bevel laid to rest

ANDREWS -- The Rev. Doug Kello will never forget the first time he saw U.S. Army Cpl. Ray Bevel at his church. Then a youth minister at First Baptist Church of Andrews, Kello said Bevel was in his dress uniform and seemed so proud to be serving his country.

Kello, now minister at Calvary Baptist Church in Weimar, officiated at Bevel's funeral here before 1,500 to 1,600 mourners at the James Roberts Civic Center. "I loved Ray very much. My heart was saddened last Saturday night when I got word of what happened to him," he said.

Bevel, 22, died Saturday, April 21 in Yusifiyah, Iraq, according to information from McNett Funeral Home. He was killed by an improvised explosive device while on unmotorized patrol, his father, Jerry Bevel previously told the Reporter-Telegram.

Kello said he wanted to tell the family how much he loves them and more importantly, how much God loves them. He said Ray had three families -- his loved ones in Andrews, the Andrews community itself and his fellow soldiers in Iraq. "We don't have a lot of answers at this time. At a time like this, God gives his answer to us. You can see that and feel that today," he said.

Kello said he was blessed to know Bevel and said he embodied the soldier's creed. In his formal uniform, "when I saw him that day, I saw what had given him purpose and fulfillment."

"Corporal Bevel made the ultimate sacrifice so you and I can enjoy freedom," Kello said.

The Breckenridge native and 2003 Andrews High School graduate was awarded several medals posthumously -- the Bronze Star, the Good Conduct Medal, Purple Heart, Iraq Campaign Medal and others.

He received care packages from Andrews for fellow soldiers, which included Rip It energy drink. The only source soldiers knew of for this was Porter's Thriftway in Andrews. When Bevel called home, "thank-yous" could be heard in the background.

The civic center was lined with American flags held by the Patriot Soldier Riders and the flag-draped coffin was brought in by an honor guard from Fort Hood. The Black Gold Choir from Andrews High School and others offered song.

Kello said the community paid Bevel its deepest respect and gratitude Monday. Long before Bevel gave his life for his country, he gave his life for Christ, he said.

The minister said Bevel had expressed fear, but courage is fear under control. "He had faith and because of this saving faith, we take comfort in knowing he has an eternal home prepared for him by God," he said.

U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Midland, was among the mourners.

"I try to go to all of these that I can. These families have an awful lot of hurt and pain. I'm trying to share it with them as best I can," Conaway said.

Burial was at Andrews North Cemetery and McNett Funeral Home of Andrews handled arrangements.

Survivors include his wife, Brooke Bevel of Odessa; his father, Jerry and stepmother Lonna Bevel of Andrews; mother, Christy Hobbs Bevel of Lubbock; brothers, Jerry Don Bevel of Odessa, Pvt. Rusty Smith of Fort Wainwright Alaska; sister, Keisha Bevel of Andrews; grandparents, Ruth Willis of Rockwall, Betty Hobbs of Odessa, Jerry and Susan Hallmark of Lingerville; great-grandmothers, Willie Mae Hallmark of Stephenville, Dorothy Wiseman of Belmont, Ill., uncles, David Hobbs, Mike Bevel, Greg Bevel and Don Hallmark.

From MWT

Related Link:
Ray Bevel remembered

Related Link:
Ray Bevel reported killed in Iraq