Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Soldier Keeps Giving Even After Death

NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y. - The same day an 11-year-old Iraqi boy underwent heart surgery on Long Island last week, the widow of an Army captain who had befriended the youngster was opening a package at her home in California.

It was Capt. Brian Freeman's personal effects, sent to Charlotte Freeman after his death in Iraq Jan. 20. They included a hand-held Sony PlayStation video game that he had played with during breaks.

On Tuesday, Charlotte Freeman fought back tears as she presented the gadget to the smiling, gum-chewing boy named Ali as a token of what she hoped would be a lifelong friendship.[snip]

An interpreter said Ali's "biggest thanks are to God, Captain Freeman and Charlotte."

When Capt. Freeman was abducted and killed in Karbala by Iraqi militants, he had just learned that Ali had received the paperwork needed to visit the United States for surgery.

Freeman had learned of the boy's heart problem after he befriended him and his father, Abdul. The family name was withheld for fear of reprisals in Iraq.

Freeman contacted Gift of Life International, which helped raise $10,000 to pay travel and medical costs for Ali and another boy who has not yet arrived in the United States.

After Freeman was killed, members of his unit and his widow both contacted Gift of Life to ensure that Ali would still receive the promised surgery.

Read the rest here.

- May no soldier go unloved