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Archives 10-19-2005
News


War in Iraq claims life of local soldier
Cattlemen to hold beef fundraiser
Ohio man dies in Dale Hollow boat collision

 

 

War in Iraq claims life of local soldier

By BETH UNDERWOOD, OCN staff
The reality of war hit home once again last week, as a member of the 3/278th K-Troop was killed in Iraq - the third area soldier to die in Iraq in less than 18 months.

Spc. Robert Wesley Tucker, 20, of Hilham, died in Ad Dujayl, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device (IED) struck his Humvee during combat operations.

Tucker, accompanied by four other soldiers, drove the vehicle and was thrown on impact. He was the only fatality.

Also in the vehicle were Matt Cantrell, of Morgan County, who is listed in critical condition at Walter-Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C., Elliot Broyles, of Jamestown, and two soldiers from Wisconsin who sustained minor injuries.

The incident occurred after the soldiers received word that another Humvee had been hit by an IED. Tucker and the others had been sent out to assist.

"He'd gone out to help," his mother, Kim, said. "He was always thinking of other people."

Tucker's death came less than two weeks before he was to return home.

The 2003 graduate of Celina High School enlisted in the National Guard in the fall of 2003, and became well aware of the fact that he'd be deployed to Iraq during basic training.

Before leaving for Camp Shelby, he married the former Muriel Kiffe. While preparing to leave for Iraq, the couple learned they were expecting their first child.

"He was a fine boy," Kim said. "He really loved his wife and baby."

He even found a way home thanks to his mother and the Red Cross, so he could be there for the birth of his daughter, Cameron. Although his homecoming was brief, he returned to the states once more for a two-week leave.

As his daughter, now 11 months-old, grew, she came to know her dad through modern technology: webcams, instant messages, and voice messages.

"She can look at a picture right now, and call him dadada," Kim said. "She's so much like him."

Although thousands of miles away from his own family, Wes did whatever he could to help the children in Iraq as well.

"He loved the kids," Kim said. "He'd give them food and call and tell me, 'Momma, go buy them some toys, some Matchbox cars' and I would."

"He saw one man drinking out of a mud puddle, so Wes gave him water. I'm just so proud that God gave him to me."

In Clay and Overton counties, flags now fly at half-mast, as the communities prepare to bid a final farewell to Robert Wesley Tucker, once again reminded that freedom often comes with the ultimate price tag.

"Wesley died for all of us, so we can be free," said his father, Ted, then echoed by his mother, "He was a good boy. So never forget him."

Wes, who held the rank of specialist until his death, was posthumously promoted to sergeant. It was a promotion he knew was coming.

"He wanted it so bad," his mother said. "Now he has it."

In Hilham, the County Highway Department that Wes once worked for is building a road on the Tuckers' land. It will lead to Wes' final resting place on the land he grew up on, the land he hunted on, the land he loved. It will be known as the Sgt. Tucker Cemetery.

"Wes believed in what he was doing," Kim said. "He believed in those people over there, and he believed he made a difference.

"He lived 20 years. But he lived. He really lived."

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Cattlemen to hold beef fundraiser

Exension Service photo
Overton County Cattlemen's Association will hold a fall beef promotion and steak fundraiser Friday, Oct. 21 in the parking lot of Holt's Family Pharmacy. The Cattlemen's Association will serve a boneless ribeye steak sandwich plate to raise funds to support ongoing activities such as scholarships, working demonstrations, cattle equipment, and sponsoring agriculture educational programs in the county.

Plates cost $6 and include the sandwich, a drink, chips, and a cookie. Information on beef and how to cook and serve it will also be available.

Steak sandwich plates will be served from 10:30 a.m. until that evening. Everyone is invited to stop by and support the local Cattlemen's Association. For more information call Doug Maynord, president, at (931) 823-1908 or the secretary, Glen Honeycutt, at (931) 498-3135.

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Ohio man dies in Dale Hollow boat collision

An Ohio man died Saturday, Oct. 15 in a two-boat collision on Dale Hollow Lake.

According to reports, Bill Hawkey, 58, of Ohio, was driving a Ranger bass boat out of Star Point around 8 a.m., with John Hartzell, 56, also of Ohio, as a passenger.

At the same time, Jeff Emerton, 40, of Livingston, was driving a Triton bass boat with his brother, Tim Emerton, 42, also of Livingston, as a passenger. The Emerton brothers were competing in a fishing tournament that began at 7 a.m. that morning.

The two boats collided in Ashburn Creek.

Hawkey was apparently killed on impact. Hartzell was taken to Livingston Regional Hospital where he was treated and released.

Tim Emerton suffered internal bleeding and broken ribs. He was airlifted to the trauma center at University of Tennessee Hospital in Knoxville, and is expected to return home later this week.

Jeff Emerton was apparently uninjured.

The incident was investigated by TWRA Accident Investigator Glen Moates from Nashville, and area TWRA officials Doug Lamb, Bill Moulton, Ken Ripley, Johnny Poston, and Chris Halfacre.

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Overton County News
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