Archive for Thursday, August 9, 2007

Funeral honors Leavenworth man’s sacrifice

August 9, 2007

Friends and family gathered to pay tribute to a Leavenworth man described as another of America's fallen heroes during a graveside service Thursday, August 2 at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery.

Sgt. Courtney Dean Finch's loved ones said goodbye to their fallen solider in a traditional ceremony complete with a gun salute and the playing of taps. The bugle call resonated over the crowd as family members and friends wept and comforted one other.

Finch, 27, died Tuesday, July 24 in Qayyarah, Iraq. His death was from an unknown non-combat related cause, and an investigation is under way.

Two family members of Finch were presented with American flags as a keepsake and reminder of the service their son paid to his country.

Governor Kathleen Sebelius, who was in attendance, ordered all flags in the state to be flown at half-staff in Finch's honor.

Born on June 8, 1980 in Baldwin, Wis., Finch first enlisted in the Kansas Army National Guard in July 2001 as a Tank Crewman. He completed his Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson, S.C., and Advanced Individual Training in Fort Knox, Ky.

Since then, he served six years of military service in such places as Kosovo, the Balkans and then finally Iraq with the 714th SECFOR in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Thursday's service was an opportunity to remind those lives he touched of his accomplishments and sacrifices.

During his career in the military, Finch received several awards including the Army Good Conduct Medal, The National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M Device and the German Army Marksmanship - Silver.

Surviving family include his father David Finch; mother Anne Suckow; sisters Joy Jursch and Suanne Gardner; grandmother Penny Cooksy, step-grandmother Joan Lindquist and several other family members. A brother, Spencer Martin Finch, died earlier.

Memorial contributions can be sent to the Kansas Military Emergency Relief Fund, 2800 SW Topeka Blvd., Topeka 66611.

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