It does not seem like it but it has been almost a year now since we lost you. On the other
hand it seems like an eternity since I have talked to you. There have been quite a few
changes around here since you were home last August. We added a family room to the back
of the house, your youngest nephew, Ethan Daniel, was born, Jason graduated from college,
Patrick and Cassie bought a house and have a baby on the way. My, isn’t life interesting.

I vividly remember when the soldiers came to work to tell mom and I that you had been killed
in action. Your uncle Bobby was there and we were in the office of a good friend of mine,
whom I had worked with for most of my career. Of course we took the news rather hard at
first and then soon became numb to everything else that was going on all around us.

We spent a difficult week trying to get information from the Army as to how and when they
were going to get you home. They didn’t seem to be in as big of a hurry to get you home as
they were to send you over there. We were assigned to a Casualty Assistance Officer from
Fort Knox by the name of Captain Levine who was very instrumental in helping us get
through all the red tape and paperwork. He has since left the Army but he still keeps in touch
with us. We have come to think a great deal of him and count him among our true friends.
His was not an easy job but he did it well.

The outpouring of love, comfort and support from all of our friends, neighbors, coworkers,
the community and even complete strangers was amazing! We received hundreds of cards
of sympathy and support in the mail. Every day for a week the mailbox was stuffed full of
envelopes. Your dad and Janice, your aunts Jean and Judy all came to town and our house
became the gathering spot. Bobby brought down a large folding canopy, like the ones they
used at your track meets, and we set it up in the front yard with chairs and a table
underneath it. People brought us coolers of drinks and more food than we could possibly
eat, not that any of us really had any appetite. Your mom, Sally and I took care of all the
necessary funeral arrangements although I am not quite sure how we managed to get it
done. I took your brothers shopping and bought them new suits and I must say they looked
rather handsome. Lisa and her mom and dad came to town. I took Lisa over to the funeral
home one afternoon so she could visit with you alone for a while and say a private goodbye.

The day of the visitation is a blur. There were so many people who came to see you and say
goodbye you wouldn’t believe it. There were even people who didn’t know you that came in
just to say thank you to you for fighting for our country. There were so many people we used
the entire funeral home. And everywhere you looked there were flowers, planters, wreaths
and gifts.

The day of your funeral the chapel was packed and people actually stood in the hallway.
Your uncle Bobby and Shane Russell did a fine job of delivering your eulogy. The funeral
procession to the cemetery was one of the longest I have ever seen. Leading the way was
Darin Broady in his police car. Several soldiers from Fort Hood came to the funeral as well.
Other than Derrick, who came home with you one time, I am sorry that I can’t remember the
names of the others who were there. They did present Lisa with a flag which I thought was so
wonderful. After the funeral we all went to the fellowship hall at Bobby’s church for a dinner
and to visit amongst ourselves.

Dan, your death was the most difficult thing in my life that I have ever had to deal with. Not
only do I hurt from the loss of your friendship and company, I hurt for Pam, your brothers
and sisters and your dad as well. I guess I always looked upon myself as the “great
protector” of the family and it is difficult to face the reality that there is little or nothing I can
do to make any of them feel any better. I can hug and hold and wipe away the tears, but I
can’t mend the broken hearts or take away the hurt or replace the emptiness that all of us
feel deep down inside.

I think back on all the times you and I went fishing at Deams Lake. Sometimes I chuckle when
I think about how it always ended up that the bait was always bigger than any of the fish we
ever caught! I laugh about the time we got half way to the lake and then remembered that we
forgot the battery for the trolling motor. Or, how about the time the State Trooper pulled us
over because we didn’t have a license plate on the trailer and we talked our way out of a
ticket. Even though we never caught many fish I always had fun with you. I was always proud
of you and proud to be with you. I honestly can’t ever remember a time where we were
together and we didn’t have some fun. What I wouldn’t give now for just one more fishing trip
or even one more night of conversation out on the gazebo with a cooler of beer.

I miss you Dan. I miss you a great deal. I am so very proud of you and the man you grew to
be. The Army was good for you and neither you mom nor I have any regrets that you joined.
You were so happy; you had found your true calling. In the short time you were a soldier you
were happier than I ever was, even after working for 31 years. I only wish that all of our
children could be as happy as you were.

Well Dan, there is a whole lot more that I would like to say, but I am not exactly sure how to
put those feelings into words right now, so I think I will close for now. Until I write again please
know that you are always in our hearts and always on our minds. Know that even though you
are not with us, we still love and care for you a great deal. Each of us are working very hard
to preserve your memory and your legacy in our own special way.

Rest peaceful