Sunday, August 19, 2007

Donald Young laid to rest

Spc. Donald Young, remembered as a warrior and a friend, was laid to rest in Forestvale Cemetery in Helena on Saturday.

Young, 19, died in Baghdad Aug. 8 from wounds sustained when a vehicle he was in hit an improvised explosive device, known as an IED.

His sister, Catherine, recalled teaching her younger brother how to swim when he was eight and she was 10.

“He was a skinny little kid, all dressed in black, standing on the diving board … he looked a little scared standing there,” she said quietly, smiling at the memory. “Then this guy came and pushed him off and he screamed so loud, his arms were flapping as he fell into the water and he sank really fast.”

But he never gave up, she added, which is a trait he carried with him throughout his short life, for better or worse.

“It got him in trouble a lot, but it made him the great man he was,” she said. “He always wanted to make a difference.”

Young was a former student at Capital High School, and lived in California, Missouri, Montana and Washington before joining the Army. He was assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Cavalry Division, based at Fort Hood, Texas.

He is the fifth service member from Helena to die in the war, and is survived by his wife, Cheryl Young, his father, Richard Cleary, his mother, Donna Smith, and numerous sisters, a brother, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandmothers.

In the online obituary service, friends noted how Young could always make them laugh. They described him as a sweet, caring man, a “goofball” with a lot of energy and spunk.

He also was a warrior who made an extraordinary sacrifice, added Maj. Gen. Randy Mosley, the Montana National Guard adjutant general.

Mosley awarded Young’s family four medals, including the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. The Bronze Star is given for heroic or meritorious deeds while engaged in combat, and is the nation’s fourth highest honor. The Purple Heart is given to those wounded or killed in the line of duty.

“Those who die in the service to their country do so because they took an oath to defend this nation and its constitution,” Mosley said, speaking at Young’s funeral service. “This is about an individual who decided the United States is worth dying for. It’s about duty, honor, courage and selfless service.

“And we are, all of us, forever in his debt.”

From the Helena Independent Record

Related Link:
Donald M. Young dies 'of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle'