Our church family mourns the loss of one of our young members. PFC Cody Grater was killed in action in Iraq. He was one of several members of our church in the military.

We have been praying for him as we do for the others. The Lord saw fit to bring him home sooner than we preferred. It saddens us greatly. We currently continue to pray for Megan Sissum, Peter Bandoo, Caleb Roman, Marius Scott and Nicardo Hamilton.

The story from TBO.com follows (by JOSH POLTILOVE, The Tampa Tribune
Published: Jul 31, 2007

SPRING HILL - A 20-year-old Bronze Star-winning paratrooper from Spring Hill died Sunday when his guard position was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade near Baghdad.

Pfc. Cody C. Grater was a vehicle driver with the Army's 82nd Airborne Division.

"Our son died doing what he was proud of," Larry L. Decker and Anita D.
Lewis, his stepfather and mother, said in a statement. "It was his goal to make
the Army his career, which he loved. He was proud of serving his country."

Grater has received the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon and the Combat Action Badge.

His unit will hold a memorial service in Iraq on Friday. Grater, who joined the Army in April 2006, finished Motor Transport Operator Advanced Individual Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., a month later.

He reported to his division in August 2006 and was assigned to the 407th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.

"Pfc. Cody Grater was an exemplary soldier in the 82nd Airborne Division," said Lt. Jason Gardel, rear detachment commander of 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team. "He served his country honorably and will long be remembered by his leaders and fellow paratroopers.

"He was eager to learn and excelled at all aspects of his chosen profession. Pfc. Grater always went the extra mile to help out his comrades."

This leaves us a bit numb and regretting that we haven't done more for our troops. Especially the ones from our church. We do pray regularly for them, but we need to write them and send them reminders of home. I remember Cody wanted cereal one time. I also remember the Sunday before he left. We gathered around him for prayer.

I often joke that we bring people into the church, they get saved, and then they join the military. I joke, and it seems true at times, Megan and Caleb also joined and soon after left for the armed forces. I must add, we are honored to have them be a part of our church family.

***Note: Anyone who is anti-Iraq war or anti-troops, do not dare to comment, I will not allow stupidity. I will leave it at that since I really feel like saying more, but God's Spirit restrains me.

UPDATE: Hernando Today Article (more detail)


TheDen said...


My heart and prayers go out to you and your church at this time of mourning.

That's truly sad to lose someone so young.


Anonymous said...

This young hero needs to be held in high esteem and be remembered for his bravery. When Cody joined in 2006 he probably knew where he would have to go. That's more than most of us in this life. We spend most of our time trying not to take a risk which he could well have done. He also exemplifies the verse in Ecclesiastes where Solomon exhorts us to "remember our Creator in the time of our youth, before the day of evil comes. What a wonderful young man and my heart and prayers go out to those who knew him personally. Yours in Christ, Cindy

Dave Norris said...

The entire SPM family sends their regrets and losing one so young and we ask everyone to pray for his family for their consolation and peace and also for the young people of that church still in Iraq for safety and well being.

Rand said...

So many young lives...

The Lord console his family, and give grace and mercy to all the other young men and women serving in war-torn countries (Afghanistan and Iraq).


Jennifer said...

My thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family.
God Bless,

pregador27 said...

Thank you for all the comments. We are going to work to support Cody's family during this difficult time. They were not members of our church, but that does not matter.

Anonymous said...

My Prayers are with all our Military Personal, and special Prayer's for this young man's family. Thank you so much for your wonderful son, for giving his all to keep us free and safe.