Remembering a fallen hero

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 29, 2005

A patriot. A soldier. A son. A brother. A friend.

Those who knew and loved David H. Ford IV paid their respects Tuesday evening during a visitation at Phillips Funeral Home.

The 20-year-old U.S. Army specialist from Ironton was killed two weeks ago in Baghdad, Iraq when his tank convoy was attacked.

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Manuel Wilson, a former Lawrence Countian who now lives in Alaska, said Ford was "a fine young man" who was proud to serve his country.

"He had always wanted to go into the military. His dad was a military person. He did what he wanted to do," Wilson said. "He loved his family. He was just a fine young man."

Leland Fulks of Deering attended Jeffersonville Missionary Baptist Church with Ford and remembered the fallen soldier as coming from "a mighty good family."

One family member who declined to give his name said Ford believed in his country and was proud to serve it, even though he knew his chances were as good as anybody's that he could die fighting for that country.

"I remember him saying 'we're in this war to win, not to lose,'" the man said.

Jeremy Davidson worked with Ford at Wendy's restaurant. He recalled Ford as a"friendly guy" who was fun to be around.

"He was kind of quiet but once I got to know him, he was one of the best guys I ever met," Davidson said.

Davidson shook is head as he recounted how he found out his friend had died: he had gone to work and people there broke the news. "Everybody has been all torn up about it."

Ford had many friends. Another of them was John Dawson, a retired Marine. Dawson said he thought about wearing somber colors to the funeral home. Then he remembered the patriotism of his friend and opted instead to wear red, white ad blue.

"He paid the ultimate sacrifice for his country," Dawson said. "I'm here out of respect for him, to honor him. he was a good Christian man, a God-fearing man, loved his family. And from the first time I met him he treated me like family."

Dawson said he would most remember the sacrifice Ford made, doing something that he loved. Now, his friend is gone and his family and friends are trying to make sense of what happened and trying to cope with the loss of one so young so far from home.

"We're trying but everyone is taking it hard, " Dawson said. There's a big void and there is no way to ever fill it."

There will be a candlelight vigil at 9 p.m. this evening in honor of Ford.

The vigil will begin at Third and Center streets. Ironton High School will pay honor to the 2003 graduate with a ceremony during the pregame activities at 7 p.m. Friday evening at the high school.