Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Army Spc. Stephen R. Fortunato

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Stephen R. Fortunato, 25, of Danvers, Mass.

Spc. Fortunato was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; died Oct. 14, 2008 of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device in Qazi Bandeh, Afghanistan. Also killed were Spc. Cory J. Bertrand and Sgt. Preston R. Medley.

Army Spc. Stephen R. Fortunato remembered
The Associated Press

Stephen R. Fortunato was the oldest of three children, and his younger siblings were at their mother’s side to offer memories of their brother.

“I don’t even want to believe this is true. He was my role model, my hero,” said Anthony, 20, the youngest. “I loved him so much that I really, really hope that wherever he is, he knows that.”

Fortunato, 25, of Danvers, Mass., died Oct. 14 in Qazi Bandeh, Afghanistan, when his vehicle struck an IED. He was a 2002 high school graduate and was assigned to Fort Hood, Texas.

“My son Stephen was very affectionate and a loving kid,” Betty Crawford said. “He was the jokester, all the time. But he was also a dedicated soldier. He went into the Army like anyone else, a kid. He came home as a man.”

He tried studying graphic arts at North Shore Community College, but decided he was not ready for college. He enlisted, choosing the Army because he wanted to be in combat.

He also is survived by his wife, Sherri.

“He had brown hair, green eyes, and the biggest smile in the world,” she said. “He was a loving person. He loved his family. He loved his mother. He stayed strong for them. He was a hero.”

Army Spc. Stephen R. Fortunato was killed in action on 10/14/08.

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