Friday, June 29, 2007

Services held for Stephen Wilson

Marine Staff Sgt. Stephen Wilson lived his life with enthusiasm and zeal, and that is exactly how he would want to be remembered, according to his mother.

“Stephen had absolutely no fear. He used to say ‘nothing’s going to happen to me, mom,’” said Bonnie Lou Schreiner, a former Brentwood resident who now resides in Lake County. “He loved what he did; he was very proud.”

Wilson, 28, was killed June 20 in an explosion in the province of Anbar in Iraq. Serving his third tour, the l997 Liberty High School grad was a Marine Security Guard searching for enemy weapons when the blast occurred. He was assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion 13 out of Camp Pendleton.

Although the inherent dangers of serving in Iraq were clear, Schreiner said she was still shocked by the news.

“It was totally unexpected, and I’m just so sad,” she said through tears during a phone interview Monday afternoon. “When I got paged by them (Marines) that night I knew what had happened. What else could it have been? You’re not supposed to bury your children.”

Originally from Georgia, Wilson moved to Brentwood in l992 and was known as an outstanding athlete.

“He would just follow the seasons,” she said. “He was a terrific athlete, and he loved soccer and ice hockey, but he played them all. He was good at every sport.”

Brentwood Mayor Bob Taylor said he joins the community in mourning the loss of one of its own.

“Because we are so family-oriented here, anytime we lose a kid it just breaks the heart of the community,” said Taylor, a Vietnam veteran. “Stephen was a Liberty High School student and Liberty is a mainstay of the community, so we’re all feeling the loss.”

Wilson served two previous tours as a marine security guard in Finland and the Ivory Coast.

“He really loved it all,” said Schreiner. “I didn’t believe in the war, but I supported it because he was in it. That’s what moms do. I’m very, very proud of him.”

Schreiner continues to be comforted by the hundreds of online tributes and condolences sent by fellow Marines and friends. Her son will receive the Purple Heart posthumously.

“There is a Web site where people are posting literally hundreds of comments about Stephen,” she said. “It’s just amazing. It helps a lot to see that.”

Wilson is survived by his mother, Schreiner, and father, John Wilson of Tualatin, Ore.; brothers James Wilson of Clearlake and Scott Wilson of Aloha, Ore; as well as his maternal grandmother, Virginia Schreiner of Pittsford, N.Y.

Services were held Thursday at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Brentwood.

From the Bethel Island Press

Related Link:
Stephen J. Wilson dies 'while conducting combat operations'