Thursday, August 23, 2007

Donovan D. Witham dies 'of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle'

After the loss of her paratrooper son in Iraq this week, grieving mother Martha Launius spoke with Today’s THV.

Launius says, "I know it's gonna hurt more as time goes by but right now I know he's in a better place and he's (cries),he's gonna be missed greatly."

Martha Launius grieves the loss of her son, a hometown and now an American hero. Donovan Witham was known around the small Hot Spring County town of Glen Rose as one of the most well-rounded kids around.

Launius says, "Everyone that's been near Donovan has been touched by him. Trust me. Just walking onto the football field he touched somebody. He’s very well known. He was very funny. He was that comedian everyone wanted to be around. He had a lot of good qualities."

No one can believe he's gone, even though he graduated from Glen Rose High School two years ago. Every time he came to town, he always dropped in on friends to say hi.

Senior Emily Whitfield says, "I didn't' believe it at first. I’m still trying to visualize it and I can't. I just don't see him as gone."

Witham was a football star, popular with classmates and teachers and a good student.

Glen Rose Principal Vic Gandolph says, “He was in speech, baseball, track, football, just a joy to be around. He was smiling all the time."

The flag flies at half-staff outside Glen Rose High School as the football field awaits the start of the season. Coach Mark Kehner says the team is grieving and will attend Witham's funeral in mass.

Kehner says, "We're loading everyone up. I think it'll be big, every kid here wants to do that and to honor Donovan's life and who he was and we'll definitely do that."

Classmate Emily Whitfield says, "He was a good guy. He’s in heaven. He’s happy."

The community will now surround Witham's family with love, helping them get through one of the toughest times in their lives.

Martha Launius says, "He did what he was supposed to do and we're so proud of him and we love him."

From THV 11