Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Marine Lance Cpl. Thomas E. Rivers Jr.

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Lance Cpl. Thomas E. Rivers Jr., 22, of Birmingham, Ala.

LCpl. Rivers was assigned to 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died April 28, 2010 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

‘He wanted that tough challenge and he wanted the action’
The Associated Press

Thomas Rivers had no doubts in his mind that he wanted to be a Marine when he graduated, friends said.

Fred Yancey, who coached Rivers on Briarwood Christian School’s varsity football team, said Rivers was mature and hard-working.

“I see Thomas Rivers as a young man of dedication, a leader of men, a big team, little me kind of guy,” Yancey said. “I knew God had given Thomas a great plan as a U.S. Marine.”

Rivers, 22, of Hoover, Ala., was killed by a roadside bomb April 28 in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Camp Lejeune, N.C. He graduated from Briarwood in 2007 and had previously served in Afghanistan.

Yancey said Rivers was always excited about becoming a Marine.

“They have a reputation of being the toughest and that’s what drew Thomas to the Marines, I’m positive,” Yancey said. “He wanted that tough challenge and he wanted the action.”

Among Rivers’ survivors are his parents and a sister.

A U.S. Marine from Hoover died from a roadside bomb in Afghanistan this morning, according to a minister for the soldier's family.

It’s been a somber day for family and friends of Thomas Rivers. The Lance Corporal from Hoover had always wanted to be a Marine. That goal helped him mature from a teen with a tough life, to a man on a mission.

Lance Cpl. Thomas Rivers, 22, was serving his second tour of duty in the Middle East when he was killed, said the Rev. Dave Lewis, shepherding pastor at Briarwood Presbyterian Church.

The 22 year old Marine from Hoover was a 2007 graduate of Briarwood Christian School. Thomas Rivers came to family friend and spokesperson, Reverand Dave Lewis, for advice, once he had decided to become a Marine. Lewis said Rivers’ death has been tough on Rivers’ family.

Rev. Lewis said, “They were proud of him and while they will not get over this, will get through this and we’ve been doing a lot of praying together.“

Also praying for Rivers’ family the students and staff at Briarwood, specifically, this prayer from Psalm 91. The last two verses read, “He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him and shew him my salvation.“ (Psalm 91: 15-16 KJV) This chapter was on Rivers’ prayer card.

"It's difficult because on one hand, we're so sad and on the other hand, we're so proud because Thomas Rivers was a real hero," said Fred Yancey, who serves as Briarwood's Dean of Students. He also coached Rivers who was part of the football team all four years he was at Briarwood.

Yancey said he died doing what he loved. "They have a reputation of being the toughest and that's what drew Thomas to the Marines, I'm positive," Yancey said. "He wanted that tough challenge and he wanted the action."

Rivers’ History Teacher, Dr. Bob Crandall said, “This is a good story, not a bad story in terms of the man that he became.“

Dr. Crandall said, “And frankly if we’re to survive as a nation we got to have kids like Thomas Rivers in time of war and in time of peace.“

Rev Lewis said, “Thomas had always wanted to be a Marine and God meant his life to be short, obviously. But Thomas was one of those young men, he always knew he wanted to be a Marine and he went and he did a job and I’m proud of him.“

Pride for a young man who Lewis said went to bootcamp as a boy and came back a man.

Services will be held at Briarwood Presbyterian but funeral arrangements are still pending. The family is considering the Military Cemetery in Montevallo for burial.

In honor of Lance Corporal Thomas Rivers, the flags at all of the Briarwood schools, in North Shelby County, are flying at half staff.

Marine Lance Cpl. Thomas E. Rivers Jr. was killed in action on 4/28/10.

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