Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Army Sgt. Edward O. Philpot

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Edward O. Philpot, 38, of Latta, S.C.

Sgt. Philpot was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 263rd Armor Regiment, South Carolina National Guard, Dillon, S.C.; died Oct. 23, 2007 in Afghanistan from a non-combat-related Humvee rollover accident.

DoD News - A member of the 218th Brigade Combat Team has died while on a convoy operation in Afghanistan.

Adjutant General Stanhope Spears says Sergeant Edward Philpot, 38, of Latta died when the vehicle he was in rolled over during the convory.

Philpot served with the 218th Brigade Combat Team in Afghanistan.

"He was deeply committed to the cause of freedom and this belief led him to serve his state and country with honor and with distinction," Spears said in a written statement. "The South Carolina Army National Guard will sorely miss this great American and we join his family and friends in mourning his passing."

Philpot's family says he was married with three daughters. His wife is a teacher at Latta High School and graduated from Coastal Carolina University in Conway.

Close friends said he was very involved in the community and a dedicated member of Dillon Church of God.

Over the past eight years, Richard Kopituk said, what began as the interaction between a customer and employee developed into a relationship similar to that of a father and son.

“He told us that he really thought of us like substitute parents,” said Kopituk, owner of RJK Frames and Things in Latta.

Close friends said Philpot spent his Saturday mornings taking his three daughters to Kopituk’s coffee shop for cookies.

“Well, you’re just kind of shocked at first. I think this is the first time the war has really been brought that close to us,” said Neyette Williams, Philpot’s neighbor of eight years.

“It’s just a devastating thing. He’s the first one from here that we have lost, and of course it’s sad anytime you lose somebody,” she said. “But, this hits very close to home because we look out that front door every day and realize he’s not gonna come back anymore.”

Williams said while Philpot was proud to serve his country, he was also a proud father, husband and man of God.

Sergeant Philpot's friends and acquaintances in Latta all said the same thing about him: he was a loving husband, and a gentle, caring father.

"I knew that Ed was a good father," said neighbor Netty Williams. "I watched him play in the yard with his children, play tag with them, run around the tree, pull them in the wagon, take them for walks."

Local business owner Shirley Kopituk has similar memories, saying "(His) girls would climb over him, and kiss him on the cheeks and the back of the neck, and he would just smile and continue his conversation with other people. He was really an exceptional young man."

Sgt. Philpot was originally from Detroit, and was a political science major at Coastal Carolina University.

Philpot's church has set up a fund to aid his wife and three children. If you'd like to help, send your donation to the following address:

Dillion Church of God
P.O. Box 573
Dillon, SC 29536

Army Sgt. Edward O. Philpot was killed in Afghanistan on 10/23/07.

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