Monday, January 15, 2007

Army Specialist Matthew T. Grimm

Remember Our Heroes

Army Specialist Matthew T. Grimm, 21, of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.

Spc. Grimm was assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Bliss, Texas; died Jan. 15 in Mosul, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during combat operations.

When Matthew Tyler Grimm joined his cousin's racing team in the summer of 2004, it was his first experience working with the high-performance stock cars that were the backbone of the American Speed Association.

Army Spc. Matthew Tyler Grimm, 21, of Wisconsin Rapids is the 68th Wisconsin service member killed in Iraq and the first of 2007.

That fall, he joined another team, the U.S. Army, where he learned about tanks and artillery.

"He was always ready to take on a new challenge," 1995 ASA champion Bryan Reffner said Tuesday after learning that his cousin had died in Iraq the day before.

The 21-year-old Army specialist, who was a member of C Company, 2/7 Cavalry in Fort Bliss, Texas, was killed when the vehicle in which he was riding was struck by a roadside bomb, his mother, Jean Grimm, said Tuesday.

She did not know where her son was killed, but said he had been in Iraq since late October and until a week ago had been stationed in Mosul.

"He laughed and smiled a lot," Jean Grimm said. "He was friends with everyone, and he really enjoyed life."

According to his mother, Matthew Grimm entered the Army the fall after graduating from Lincoln High School, where he played football, wrestled, dabbled in weightlifting and met an Army recruiter.

"I guess (the Army) just looked interesting to him," said Jean Grimm, whose other son, Andrew, 23, is serving in Iraq as a specialist with the Wisconsin National Guard.

"He didn't really know what he wanted to do yet."

Shane Benitz, an assistant wrestling coach at Lincoln who worked with Grimm in his sophomore year, described him as a "powerhouse" wrestler with a muscular frame.

"He was just a great kid, a good athlete, hard-working, everything you want in a member of a high school sports team," Benitz said. "Our program is really saddened to hear the news."

Immediately after high school, Grimm began working for Reffner Motor Sports in Stevens Point, unloading cars from the previous race and getting them ready for the next, Reffner said.

"Matt worked in the shop, and in racing, that's 90 percent of the work," Reffner said.

Much of Grimm's work for the team involved maintaining the cars, his cousin said.

"He'd be looking for anything that might be falling off and tightening up nuts and bolts," Reffner said, adding that his cousin was more like a muscle-bound younger brother who lived life the way he worked out in the gym.

"He just wanted to do things right and then do them better," he said. "He was always looking to achieve a goal and then exceed it."

Grimm, who is also survived by his father, Eldon, is the 68th Wisconsin service member killed in Iraq and the first of 2007. He is also the second from Wood County killed in the war in the last six weeks.

Army Specialist Matthew T. Grimm was killed in action on 01/15/07.

No comments: