Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Kory Wiens comes home

An Oregon soldier's remains came home for burial Monday.

Army Cpl. Kory Duane Wiens died earlier this month of wounds sustained from an explosive device in Iraq. He was 20. A convoy of family and friends paid him tribute, traveling 34 miles through three counties.

The procession left the Corvallis Airport about 11:20 a.m., passing though Albany and Independence and arriving in Dallas shortly after 1 p.m. It was a tandem sequence of two state police cruisers, eight private vehicles, six motorcycles, an Army representative's car, a city of Corvallis cruiser and an Oregon Department of Transportation response rig.

Wiens lived in Independence, Lincoln City and Albany, graduating from West Albany High School in 2005, and his many homes were part of the reason for the circuitous route.

Wiens was assigned to the 94th Mine Dog Detachment, and his ashes traveled with those of his yellow labrador, Sgt. Cooper, a specialized search dog trained to sniff out firearms, ammunition and explosives. The two died together and will be buried together in Dallas, where Wiens' father lives.

Without music and with little fanfare, Wiens' procession slipped through Independence on its way to Dallas Mortuary Tribute Center. About 30 people stood in tribute, scattered about the corner of South Main and Monmouth Streets as they watched the procession.

Tracey Carpenter, of Independence, used to baby-sit Wiens and said it was sad for her to watch the solemn string of vehicles while remembering how silly and energetic the boy and his two brothers used to be when they were small.

"They were just into everything, into anything they could get their hands on," Carpenter said. "They were hard to keep track of."

Carpenter's father, Jamie Heide, has worked with Wiens' father at Valley Concrete & Gravel in Independence for almost 20 years.

"I've known (Wiens) since he was this big," said Heide, reaching down to his knee.

He said all the Wiens children were "happy-go-lucky."

Jean Wimer's son was a boyhood friend of Wiens', attending the Boy Scouts of America Pack 38 in Independence with him. Her son, U.S. Army Pfc. Lyle Wimer, also is serving in Iraq.

Wiens "had so much enthusiasm," she said. "He was a great little child, just a good little kid, and he'll be missed by the Wimers."

Carl Fitts did not know Wiens, but he has worked with the soldier's father for a year at Valley Concrete. A former U.S. Marine, Fitts was deployed to Iraq for six months, and the soldier's father gave him on-the-job training, so he said it was important for him to pay his respects. He has two children and empathized with Kevin Wiens Sr., Kory's father.

"No father should have to bury one of their sons," Fitts said.

Two Boys Scouts from Troop 255 stood sentry on each side of Washington Street at the Levens Street intersection in Dallas, beacons to the end of a journey. Among those who made the trek were motorcycle riders from the Willamette River Chapter of the Oregon Veterans Motorcycle Association.

"We always want to make sure there are a good number of riders," said Dan Linebaugh of Salem, one of the half-dozen finishing riders out of about two dozen who left Corvallis a couple of hours earlier.

Others who made it to the end were Independence residents David Hickerson, Pat "Paw" O'Malley, Walter Shrock and Gary and Elaine DeVore.

"We saw a lot of country," O'Malley said, noting that the riders routinely pay respects for area fallen soldiers with a motorcade.

"The others (motorcycles) all peeled off along the way," Shrock said. "Some came here to be flag bearers and got here ahead of us."

Outside the funeral home, Brandon and Tonjia Doeden of Independence were there to pay respects to a young man they watched grow up.

"I used to baby-sit him, and he did Cub Scouts with my boys," Tonjia Doeden said. "He was just all boy; the middle of three boys and all full of life and joy.

"I have two sons: one currently serving in the Army and another one who is 17," she said. "They all rode their bikes together, skateboards ... My younger son, Adam, and (Kory's brother) Kyle were inseparable."

Kory Wiens' older brother, Kevin Wiens Jr., also is deployed in Iraq and escorted his brother's body back to Oregon.

From the Statesman Journal

Related Link:
Kory D. Wiens dies 'of wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device'