IHS grad killed in Iraq

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 29, 2005

Talking on the phone 3,000 miles away, the distance did little to diminish the hurt in Violet Ford's voice as she sobbed uncontrollably and struggled to find any words.

Her tears did nothing to ease the worst pain a mother can feel - the loss of a child.

Twenty-year-old Army Spec. David Ford died doing what he loved - serving the nation and helping others. A tank driver, the 2003 Ironton High School graduate was killed Thursday in Iraq, likely the first person from Lawrence County to be killed in the war.

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"I can't Š," Violet Ford said from her home in Los Angeles as she fought back the endless waves of tears that have rolled since she was notified last week. "He was my baby, the baby of our family"

No details were available from the military. Family members said the waiting has been difficult.

With words unable to express how proud she is of all her children, Violet Ford called her youngest son a responsible young man who loved life and was easy to love.

For Ford and his older brother, Ray, the military was a chance to work towards an education and to make a difference. Both boys continued the family tradition - their father retired after 20 years in the Navy.

"They have known the military all their lives," Violet Ford said. "This is what he wanted. He died doing what he wanted."

Friends and family remember Ford as a hero who gave his life for his country and his county. Those who knew the young man reflected on the many things that made David special.

"Some of the (2003 graduates) have heard about it and they wanted to do something," said secretary Teresa Bowen. "He was a quiet guy, pretty good student. He was just a good kid."

Classmate Rebecca Dingus considered Ford a friend and an example of human courage.

"He was wonderful, such a strong person," she said. "He had been through so much. He lost his father at a young age. His house burned down our senior year, but he kept going. He had such a big heart."

Ford's fellow 2003 graduates are planning to do something in his honor, Dingus said

Violet hesitated to call her son a hero, though she said she couldn't be more proud of him.

"My son was my son. I don't like to put the "hero" line to someone," she said. "He was my pride and joy. We are just average people, no better or worse than anyone else."

During these difficult times, grandfather Ray Adams focused on all that David was and all that he will be remembered for.

"I am proud of him," Adams said. "I am real proud. He was fine boy Š I tell you, it is a great loss."