Letter to the Editor

Family offers thanks to community

Sunday, March 21, 2010

To the Editor:

My name is Mason Cooper and I am the uncle of Marine Cpl. Gregory Stultz, the serviceman from Brazil, who was killed in action while serving in Afghanistan Feb. 19, 2010.

I was asked by several members of Greg's family to write this letter of appreciation to the local newspapers and media regarding their coverage of this event and the outpouring of support we have all received from the community.

It is hard to put into words what the family of Greg has been through over the past several weeks. We have never experienced such a rollercoaster of emotions in our lives. We all had a constant worry for Greg and for his safety, being an elite recon Marine, as he would be the individual to do the behind the scenes work for the military; an extremely dangerous job. When the family received the word of Greg's passing, it devastated and crushed everyone and sucked the lives out of us all.

Of course, we all questioned a lot of things, which could be expected during such a tragic event. We all asked the obvious why questions, and will continue to have questions in the future. But with our faith, these questions will be answered. The family all understands that Greg was doing what he wished to do and supported him with that decision once it was made. He was not drafted or forced into his role. He was a volunteer, who was doing what was right as he made his family so proud.

The family cannot express enough how appreciative we all are from the outpouring of support from the community. Every news article, every interview, every newscast was so gracious. Every member of the news media from the newspaper, radio, and television, treated Greg's family with compassion. We cannot even begin to mention any groups or individuals who have helped the family over the past several weeks because of the fear of leaving someone out.

From the west central Indiana region, the entire state of Indiana, and all across the nation, support reigned in to Greg's family. We had never seen so many familiar faces and so many unfamiliar faces then we did during that week of events. Living in a small community, the family has made so many friends and we virtually know everyone in and around Brazil. The family has also made some enemies. The reason that is mentioned is because Greg's family received kindness from those folks as well. It was just so amazing that with Greg's passing, it brought together our community like we have never seen it brought together before. Family, friends, acquaintances, foes, etc., were united during this tragic event and the ceremonies that followed. We never felt so much love, care and concern than we did during that week. Those same emotions continue to today.

People from all around lines the streets of Terre Haute, Seelyville, West Glenn, and Brazil. People we knew, people we did not know, giving thanks and paying their respects. People withstood the 20-degree temperatures, standing outside their homes, daycares, schools, employers, etc., to show appreciation.

People crying, waving, clapping and saluting were all witnessed. People in wheelchairs, babies, young and old, were out in masses when we brought Greg home from the airport.

The same was true for Greg's funeral procession several days later. Greg's name and thoughts showered the town. His picture was in virtually every business on National Avenue, and around the region. The family saw no strangers during that week for Greg's memory.

We all were family who got and understood it. We were all family coming together. That is what it is about, small town living in a community that cares.

Thanks again for all the positive coverage and support from all who were involved. All of you help make an unbearable loss more manageable.


Mason Cooper for the Stultz and Cooper Family,

Franklin, Ind.