Thursday, July 20, 2006

Army Pfc. Derek J. Plowman

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Derek J. Plowman, 20, of Everton, Ark.; assigned to the Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 142nd Fires Brigade, Rogers, Ark.; died on July 20 in Baghdad, Iraq, from a gunshot wound.

By Silvia Guzman

U.S. Army Private First Class (PFC) Derek Plowman, 20, pictured, was killed Thursday, July 20, while serving in Iraq. Plowman was assigned to the 1st Battalion 142nd Brigade of the U.S. Army National Guard in Rogers, Arkansas. Plowman lived in Lehigh Acres for 17 years.

A former Lee County resident and Arkansas National Guard soldier whose father and brother still live in Lee County died in Baghdad on July 20 of a gunshot wound.

Pfc. Derek James Plowman, 20, had been a Lehigh resident for 17 years, was assigned to Battery C, 1st Battalion, 142nd Fires Brigade in Rogers, Ark. The gunshot incident is still under investigation.

He attended Lehigh Senior High School until his junior year in 2004. He then moved to Everton, Ark., with his mother, Kim Campbell and his stepfather Andrew Campbell and graduated from Valley Springs High School.

Plowman joined the Army National Guard while he was a senior in high school. After he graduated, he started his basic training.

"We knew that he was fine with the decision he made. His mother and I, we get peace in knowing that Derek did what he wanted to do," said his stepfather Andrew Campbell. "He knew where he was going when he enlisted, but he wanted to serve his country and he knew it could help pay for his college."

Campbell said he felt very proud of Derek Plowman for his service to the country.

Derek Plowman's brother Corey Plowman, 24, also shares that pride.

"I'm overwhelmed with pride," Corey Plowman said. "He was proud to be something that was worth being."

Still, Corey Plowman, who is a staff sergeant of the U.S. Air Force, was saddened and surprised by his brother's death.

"I have to say it is the hardest thing I've had to deal with," Corey Plowman said. "I never thought that it would be my younger brother who would get hurt. I always thought it would be me because I am older."

"Derek was always the life of the party, laughing and joking," Corey Plowman said. "Nobody didn't like to be around him."

Corey Plowman said his brother had many friends in Lehigh.

One of those friends, Rich Jones, held a barbecue cook-off over the weekend to raise money so that a group of Derek Plowman's friends who live in Lee County could fly into Everton, Ark. A group of about 25 people, including family and friends, were flying into Arkansas Thursday to attend the funeral today.

The funeral viewing is from 6 to 8 p.m. at Christeson Funeral Home in Harrison, Ark. The burial is Saturday at Western Grove Cemetery in Harrison, Ark., and the service is at the Valley Springs High School Cafetorium in Valley Springs, Ark.

Campbell said they have received several phone calls from Derek Plowman's friends in Florida, and from Lehigh Senior High School teachers.

While at Lehigh Senior High School, Derek Plowman was in the German Club, the Drama Club, the Key Club and other organizations.

"He did whatever he could do to be involved with people," Andrew Campbell said. "He never made it about Derek. It was about what he could do for them."

Derek Plowman is survived by his mother and stepfather, Kim and Andrew Campbell of Everton, Ark.; father, Donald Plowman Jr. of Cape Coral; grandfather Bill Riley of Lakeview Ark.; sisters, Ashley Plowman of Des Moines, Iowa, Angela Campbell, Zoie Campbell, Jodie Meeks, Josie Campbell, all of Everton, Ark.; brothers, USAF Staff Sgt. Corey Plowman of Warner Robins, Ga., Mike Plowman of North Fort Myers, Bryce Plowman and Dustin Plowman of Everton, Ark.

Army Pfc. Derek J. Plowman was killed in action on 07/20/06.

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