Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 27 of 365

As a teacher, you wouldn't expect to have to attend students' funerals.

As an elementary teacher, I didn't have much experience with that. But as a high school teacher, the number of students my husband has lost is in the double digits. Most of the deaths occurred while the students were in high school or just graduated from high school. And usually from car accidents.

One death was different. Ross Aaron Clevenger. And this death hit my husband hard.

Ross was a different type of student. He was funny, yet was serious about his schoolwork. He loved to skateboard. He loved it so much that he, along with some other students, approached the city council to get help in building a skateboard park. They agreed to match funds and a city skateboard park was built. 

Ross went off to college and then joined the service. He was called to active duty in early 2006 and was deployed to Iraq in September. He came home on leave in January 2007 before returning to Iraq.

A month later he was dead. He was 21.

Sgt. Ross Aaron Clevenger of the 321st Engineering Battalion was killed Feb. 8, 2007, when a roadside bomb heavily damaged his armored vehicle in Iraq’s Anbar province west of Baghdad.

His funeral was held at the Marsing High School gym and he was buried with full military honors.

So it is in Ross' name that I continue to do work for the Quilts of Valor Foundation. The mission of the foundation is to cover all those service members and veterans touched by war with Wartime Quilts called Quilts of Valor. I've been again working on presentation cases (in this instance pillowcases), which is the "gift wrap" for the quilt.

More information about Quilts of Valor can be found at http://www.qovf.org/.