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Paying tribute to fallen Marine

Sunday, March 7, 2010

To the Editor:

I first met Greg Stultz when he was a little sixth-grade boy at North Clay Middle School.

He possessed a mischievous charm that was impossible to ignore. Peeping out from around his locker door, he would often call my name and beckon me to share in a secret mission with him.

As a middle school educator, I was fortunate enough to come to know Greg well throughout his entire middle school experience. He was creative, full of life and not one to give up easily. Of course, he permanently found a place in my heart. Especially, I will always remember his grin and the sparkle of his personality. Greg Stultz was something.

Over the past week, as I followed the news of Greg's funeral and memorial service, it became obvious that the entirety of Clay County and Brazil had reached the pinnacle form of "human" perfection.

In Greg's remembrance, the county and the city did the right thing, at the right time, in exactly the right way.

I have lived in Clay County for the past 33 years and I have never before witnessed such an honorable display of dignity, class and pride for an honorable young person. It was something.

The North Clay Middle School and Northview High School students and educators lining the parking lot in hushed respect for the processional bringing Greg home was an awesome, unprecedented event for me. The presence of Greg's grieving family holding together a silent strength with dignity and grace to honor their fallen loved one was a touching tribute that seemed to mutually embrace all of us.

The dedicated precision and elegance of local firemen, policemen, French Funeral Home, Christ Community Church and of course, the Marines, were breathtaking.

The honor was a form of perfection from a small community for a courageous and honorable young person. The entire dignified demonstration of pride prompted a perpetual recurring thought: I wish Greg Stultz could see and feel this touchingly appropriate gift of love from a community to a precious young person. He would have rightfully thought it was something.

In my opinion, the next best thing we can do in Greg's honor is to make sure that all of our young people, who may or may not possess Greg's beautiful smile, are taken care of in the best possible way we can.

Greg would be the first to say that children/young people are Clay County's greatest resource.

The special comments from Pam Fischer, Director of YMCA Summer Camp, concerning Greg's active role as a camp counselor, seemed a tremendous testament to the young man's belief in children.

Our community would be wise to continue honoring Greg's memory by honoring all children and young people.

Whether we mentor, tutor, contribute monetarily, volunteer time or voice support for children, we need to do it for the valuable embodiment of Clay County young people just like Greg Stultz.

That, too, would be something.

Julie Romas,

Brazil