Shelby County Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8904 remembered those who have given their lives in the Afghanistan conflict over the last twelve years. A memorial wreath is hanging over the Shelby County Veterans Memorial Monumenet in front of the Historic Shelby County Courthouse for the remainder of the day.
The following are written biographies provided by VFW Post 8904 shortly after the ceremony. They were read at the ceremony.
US Army Staff Sergeant Kevin C. Roberts
Kevin "Casy" Roberts , 25, of Farmington, New Mexico was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, KY. He died May 7, 2008 in Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device.
While on leave from his first tour of duty in the Middle East, Army Staff Sgt. Kevin Casey Roberts told those at home about building a playground at an Iraqi orphanage and receiving a warm welcome from several Iraqi citizens.
After his first tour, Roberts-who went by his middle name Casey-returned home for a year before being deployed to Iraq for another tour. In March, the former volunteer firefighter was deployed to Afghanistan.
Casey was not from Shelby County but married a local girl, Donnice. He fell in love with Shelby County and told his wife if anything happened to him he wanted to be buried here. He is buried at the Hamilton Cemetery.
He left two children, son, Keeghan and daughter Caehlen.
US Army Specialist Cory J. Bertrand
Cory J. Bertrand's teenage years were spent playing in the front yard of a white frame house owned by his step grandparents.
His grandfather, Johnny Allen recalls the quality time they spent together. "We shot guns together, and we walked the place here together. I do some mechanic work, and he enjoyed being with me while I was doing that."
Bertrand, 18, of Center, Texas, died October 14th, 2008 in Afghanistan, when his vehicle struck an IED. He was assigned to Fort Hood, Texas.
"He felt like he was doing his job to protect not only his family, but his country, and he saw a purpose for his life," said his grandmother, Lillian Allen.
The country boy decided to join the army at age 17. His young age required his mother, Charlotte Allen, to sign the enlistment papers. She agreed so her son could have the future he wanted.
"His face seemed to have that look of being "I'm serious about what I'm Doing," and I really know he had come to realize that his purpose in life was fulfilled in being in the military," said Pastor Charles Boster.
Bertrand also is survived by his stepfather, Matt Allen, and Father Ernie Nelams.