War in Iraq is twice as bad for local couple

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 2, 2003

Like a lot of other Americans, Robert and Margaret Scyoc of Ironton are praying for troops in Iraq. But two servicemen in particular are at the top of the Scyocs' prayer list.

Two of their grandsons, Nick Scyoc, 21, and Robert Scyoc III, 23, are among the thousands of young men and women taking part in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"It's hard, in a way, but we know they are doing it for their country," Margaret said. "We're proud of them. Both of them are fine boys."

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Scyoc brothers lived in South Point with their father, Robert Jr. , and mother, Diana. They attended South Point Elementary while their father was an employee at the federal prison in Ashland, Ky. After a few moves, the family wound up in Oregon where Robert Jr. now serves as the associate warden of the federal prison in Sheridan, Ore.

Nick, a corporal in the First Marine Expeditionary Force is part of the invasion force in Iraq. Robert,

serving with the U.S. Air Force in England, was deployed to Kuwait two weeks ago.

Serving in the military has been a family affair for the Scyocs.

In addition to the young Scyoc brothers, Robert Sr. and Robert Jr. both served in the Air Force.

For Nick, serving in the Air Force like his grandfather, father and older brother was not in the cards. A football player at McMinnsville High School, he always had a knack for adventure, his father said.

"I tried to talk him into a skilled job, like a plumber or electrician, but he wanted to be where the action was - so he sure got it,"

Robert Jr. said.

Robert Sr., the pastor of Apostolic Gospel Church on Sixth and Spruce streets, and Margaret have been keeping a close eye on the news coming from Iraq.

"Me being a minister, we just put it in the hands of God," Robert Sr. said. "We just feel God will put His hands on them and take care of them."

Both of the Scyoc brothers are expecting to be fathers soon. Nick's wife, Silvia,

is expecting the couple's first child in July. Robert's wife, Amber, is due in October.

"Nicky's wife will hardly look at the news," Margaret said. "It's hard for us, too. Whenever we get a (phone) call, we get nervous."

Robert Sr. said that although he and his wife have not had the opportunity to visit much with their grandsons the past 10-12 years, he is proud of their character.

"They are obedient kids," Robert Sr. said. "Whenever their dad told them to do something, they'd do it, no questions asked."

Margaret said, just a few months ago, she received a call from Robert. She said he asked her if she remembered singing "A Bushel and a Peck" to him when he was younger, and then began singing the song to his grandmother over the telephone.

As the war rages on, though, Robert and Margaret Scyoc are using their faith to help them cope.

"We're just praying a lot," Margaret said. "We've got a lot of other people praying with us. Our whole church has been praying with us."