Saturday, June 14, 2008

Marine Pfc. Dawid Pietrek

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Pfc. Dawid Pietrek, 24, of Bensenville, Ill.

Pfc. Pietrek was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; died June 14, 2008 in Farah province, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations. Also killed were Sgt. Michael Toussiant-Hyle Washington, Lance Cpl. Layton Bradly Crass and Pfc. Michael Robert Patton.

BEEP -- Dawid Pietrek was a Polish immigrant who went to war for the United States to help fulfill his dream of becoming a citizen and police officer.

He died for a country that was not his own but, according to those who knew him, did so with pride and honor.

The 24-year-old Bensenville man was killed Saturday along with three fellow Marines in a roadside bomb attack in southwestern Afghanistan in Farah Province. The rifleman went overseas only months earlier after entering the service in June 2007 and completing his basic training in California.

He was part of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division. He is survived by his parents and a young sister, who live in his hometown of Police, in northwestern Poland.

"I loved him so much. He was like my son," said Janina Filleborn, who hired Pietrek about four years ago when he came to the United States to work as a home caregiver for her company, Family Care Agency in Chicago.

"This is a terrible shock for me. Dawid was the best. He was smart and kind and worked so hard."

She said Pietrek came to the United States on a green card when he was about 21. In July 2005, he moved in with Bill and Joanne Rohn and their three children in Elmhurst. The young man took care of Joanne's elderly father until he died in February 2006 at 88.

Pietrek's uncle also stayed with the couple a short time while the young man returned for two months in late 2005 to Poland to finish a medical class. The relative e-mailed the Rohns Sunday with the tragic news.

"He was always very respectful and good with my father," Joanne Rohn said. "He always called us Mr. and Mrs. It took months for me to get him to call us by our first names."

Added Bill Rohn: "He was kind of shy at first when he got here, and then he opened up and became part of our family."

The couple said Pietrek dreamed of a military career, a college education and becoming a police officer. He also wanted to become a citizen, which they said likely spurred his decision to enlist.

Many immigrants join the military as a way to speed up naturalization. More than 35,000 resident alien servicemen and women have been naturalized since Sept. 11, 2001, according to the federal government's citizenship Web site.

Joanne Rohn said she is putting together mementos of Pietrek's time with their family to send to his mother "to give her some sense that it was worth something."

They said Pietrek worked for another family afterward, also in Elmhurst, and eventually rented an apartment with his uncle for a short time in Bensenville. The last time the Rohns said they saw Pietrek was about last Christmas when he stopped by in full uniform while on leave after completing basic training.

"He was not scared," Joanne Rohn said. "He was real happy with what he was doing and was self-assured."

Besides Pietrek, his fellow Marines who died were: Sgt. Michael Toussaint-Hyle Washington, 20, of Tacoma, Wash.; Lance Cpl. Layton Bradly Crass, 22, of Richmond, Ind.; and Pfc. Michael Robert Patton, 19, of Fenton, Mo.

Marine Pfc. Dawid Pietrek was killed in action on 6/14/08.


mom- Dorota Pietrek said...

Wspaniała część mojego serca, spoczywa w pięknym i przyjaznym kraju. Tęsknota...... Ukochany Synku, dla mnie zawsze bedziesz żył w moim serduszku moja dumo - moj American Hero.

Anonymous said...

Wspaniała część mojego serca, spoczywa w pięknym i przyjaznym kraju. Tęsknota...... Zawsze bedziesz żył w moim serduszku mojsynku - mój AMERICAN HERO.