Saturday, June 04, 2011

Army Spc. Devin A. Snyder

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Devin A. Snyder, 20, of Cohocton, N.Y.

Spc Snyder was assigned to 793rd Military Police Battalion, 3rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; died of wounds suffered June 4, 2011 in Laghman province, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked her unit with an improvised explosive device. Also killed were Pfc. Robert L. Voakes Jr., Sgt. Joshua D. Powell and Sgt. Christopher R. Bell.

Spc Snyder was part of a family with strong ties to the military service. Her father and former Cohocton mayor, Edward Snyder, is a U.S. Navy veteran, and two of her siblings, Natasha, 23, and Damien, 19, currently serve in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army.

Spc Snyder graduated from Wayland-Cohocton Central School in 2008. She was an avid soccer player and track star, and earned the nickname “Twiggy” when she started running track on varsity. She still holds the school's steeple chase record.

Coach Jeff Englert said, “We brought her up as an eighth grader. She was always a real pleasant kid to be around. The older girls were taken with her. She just took their hearts. She was very humble, always looking to get better and better.”

Englert said he became close with her and the rest of her family during her five-year track stint, and that he’d stayed in touch with Snyder since she joined the service.

“She did a lot of great things for me as a friend her senior year. She told me the heartbeat of the team, anything I needed to look at as a coach. She helped me become a better person and coach,” he said.

“She had everything going for her. To have it end like this is awful.”

Spc Snyder deployed to Afghanistan in mid-March and was due home in July for two weeks.

Mother, Dineen Snyder, remembered her daughter as an “outright sweetheart” who could always bring a smile to anyone’s face.

“She would give somebody the shirt off her back. She was very strong-willed, but very compassionate at the same time. I had always been afraid of her being in the army. She would have taken a bullet for anybody,” she said.

Although confirming she was scared of her daughter joining the army, mother, Dineen, said she and her husband never tried to talk their daughter out of joining the service.

“She always had her heart set on joining the Army. We always let our kids make their own choices as to what they want to do. We were supportive,” she said.

“That was going to be her career. She wanted this since high school, and she was the type of person who knew what she wanted and worked her butt off for it,” uncle, Ron Snyder said. “She had a personality that wouldn’t quit."

“I don’t think she had any other interests except the army. That was her goal, to go as far as possible. She was probably a 30-year person.”

Brother, Derrick, "The world lost a shining light in Devin. She was the total package, an amazing person who will never be forgotten. I love her so much."

Volunteers hung yellow ribbons across Cohocton on Wednesday, June 8, in remembrance of her sacrifice. They attached handmade large yellow ribbons, with smaller red, white, and blue ribbons in the middle, to telephone poles in the village.

Cohocton Supervisor Jack Zigenfus said the whole community came together to hang the yellow ribbons. Zigenfus said he will likely recommend to the town board at the June 20 meeting that a pavillion at Lawrence Parks be named after Snyder, who worked in the park for several years. Sister, Natasha, and brother, Damien, also worked in the park, where mother, Dineen, was the park director for several years.

“It’s a fitting place to honor her. There’s a long family connection with the park,” said Zigenfus.

Spc Snyder's body returned to the states on Monday, June 6, to Dover AFB, Delaware.
Funeral arrangements are still pending, but will be handled by Walter E. Baird & Sons Funeral Home in Wayland.
Spc Snyder is survived by her parents, Dineen and Ed; two brothers, Derek and Damien; and sister, Natasha.

Army Spc. Devin A. Snyder was killed in action on 6/4/11.

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