We got the news this morning that Dustin Laird, a 24-year-old Martin soldier with the 913th out of Union City was killed in Iraq. Dustin is the first cousin of one of the writers at the paper. She found out this morning as she was getting ready for her day in her office.
I found out before she did. I waited for her mother to arrive and we went upstairs to the newsroom to tell her.
The family is devastated and our newspaper family is as well.
I discovered a great deal about Dustin today. He played bass and was in a band called Ghostman on First. He liked Blues music. He did a CD last year and was really looking forward to coming home to start the group back up again. They were waiting for his return. They weren't going to replace him.
His friend told me they decided to wait because he was their backbone.
A lot of his friends called, all sobbing uncontrollably.
He was well liked and he was a kid who did nice things. He visited in May and surprised a class of kids who had been writing him letters from Ridgemont Elementary School in Union City.
Walking up those stairs to tell Sabrina was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do but not nearly as hard as what that family is going through right now. My heart breaks for them right now as I sit and write this.
As she drove up to her uncle's house, the military soldiers who had come to inform Dustin's father that his son had died were leaving the house.
She came back by the paper and said that's when she knew this was all very real.
The official word has not been released by the National Guard yet, but the family said he was driving a Humvee when he ran over an IED.
There are no words that will bring him back to the Laird family.