Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Another member of the Fighting Aces rests at Fiddler's Green.

This isn't just another soldier. This isn't just someone I knew. This wasn't a friend.

This was one of my men. One of my boys.

Sergeant collected school supplies for Iraq children

The Associated Press

After watching Corey E. Spates through his first tour in Iraq, Army Sgt. 1st Class Stephen Lowe sponsored him to become a sergeant.

When he went in for the test he had to answer 35 questions. “He only missed one. I was so proud of him,” Lowe said. “Ever since he put his sergeant stripes on, he’s been excellent.”

Spates, 21, of LaGrange, Ga., was killed Feb. 10 2008 in Diyala province, Iraq, when his vehicle hit an explosive. He was assigned to Fort Hood, Texas.

Within months of his arrival in Iraq, Spates asked his mother for help.

“Everywhere his platoon went, they saw children who had nothing. They had no soccer balls, no school supplies, nothing to occupy them,” said his mother, Joy Thomas. “Originally he wanted me to collect soccer balls for the children, then after he thought about it, he decided he wanted school supplies for the Iraqi children.”

During a 30-day leave, Spates ate dinner at Pizza Villa and met a brown-haired waitress that captivated his heart. Celeste would become his wife.

Spates was such an avid Georgia Bulldog fan that his family requested everyone wear black and red for his funeral.

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