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  Raymond J. Border
Name: Navy Chief Petty Officer Raymond J. Border

Age: 31

From: West Lafayette, OH

Assigned to Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 74 in Gulfport, Miss.

Incident: Navy Chief Petty Officer Raymond J. Border died Oct. 19 while assessing a route in Paktika province, Afghanistan.


&lsquoHe fought for our freedom&rsquo

By Kathie Dickerson
Coshocton (Ohio) Tribune

COSHOCTON, Ohio &mdash The events of Operation Enduring Freedom &mdash taking place almost 7,000 miles away &mdash were brought home to Coshocton on Nov. 1.

Hundreds came out to pay their respects to Navy Chief Petty Officer Raymond Border, who was killed Oct. 19 in Paktika Province, Afghanistan.

&ldquoYou watch this happening on TV and think, &lsquoIt could never happen to us.&rsquo When it happens to your own family, it hurts,&rdquo said Dick Border, Raymond Border&rsquos great-uncle. &ldquoHe&rsquos a hero to us.&rdquo

&ldquoWe had two sons and a son-in-law that served in the military. They&rsquore out now,&rdquo said his wife, Maxine, as they waited for the arrival of the casket early Nov. 1 at Richard Downing Airport.

Maxine was impressed by the number of first responders, law enforcement officials, firefighters and emergency medical personnel gathered at the airport to be there when the Falcon 20 jet landed.

&ldquoIt&rsquos great, what the community is doing,&rdquo she said.

Border is a son of Craig and Julie Border, of West Lafayette, and they and other family members were taken to the airport from Miller Funeral Home by a Muskingum Coach bus, where they waited with about 125 other people.

In addition to the naval honor guard, about 14 members of the Ohio Patriot Guard Riders were present to greet the fallen Seabee.

A still fog shrouded the runway early Nov. 1, which forced the airplane into a standby pattern until the white mist lifted.

The pilot suggested diverting to Zanesville Airport, but that idea was rejected at the prompting of Navy Cmdr. Donald Ross.

&ldquoWe&rsquove got a community that&rsquos turned out here to greet this man,&rdquo Ross said.

The plane touched down about 11:25 a.m., almost an hour later than planned, and the quiet was broken only by the sound of the jet engine as it landed. The collective crowd stood in absolute silence as naval personnel unloaded the casket. The family then spent some time with the casket on the tarmac before it was loaded into the waiting hearse.

An honor motorcade with the hearse and a Muskingum Coach bus with the family then started down Airport Road. Border&rsquos brother, Holden, drove a blue Ford pickup truck, carrying three flags.

That was the idea of her son-in-law, Chuck Weaver, who served with Raymond for eight years, Julie Border said.

She also noticed a group belonging to the Veterans Honor Guard standing at the intersection of Airport Road and U.S. Route 36 when the bus drove up to await the plane&rsquos arrival.

&ldquoThat was nice of them to be out there,&rdquo she said.

On the return trip, Airport Road was lined with about 228 Coshocton County Career Center students holding flags, banners and a photo of Border.

A 1999 Ridgewood High School graduate, Border also was a two-year building trades student at the career center.

The honor motorcade also consisted of Ohio Patriot Guard Riders, several cruisers from the Coshocton County Sheriff&rsquos Office, the West Lafayette Police Department, Dresden Police Department and trucks from seven of the eight fire companies in the county.

Coshocton County resident Dick Timmons was part of the motorcycle group.

&ldquoWe were asked to do this and are honored to do it for the fallen military,&rdquo he said. &ldquoI had a family member over there, you know, and am lucky it didn&rsquot happen to him.&rdquo

Hundreds more turned out to honor the Coshocton native, lining Main Street and holding U.S. flags while the motorcade made its way to Miller Funeral Home.

&ldquoIt&rsquos awesome that Coshocton would turn out to do this,&rdquo said Tammy Jones of Coshocton. &ldquoWe need to show our support. He fought for our freedom.&rdquo

Hundreds again stood in silence at the funeral home. Among them was Gilbert Parkhill, who stood with hat in hand next to his wife, Doris.

&ldquoWe came to pay our respects,&rdquo Gilbert said.

Doris said her heart goes out to Border&rsquos family.

&ldquoIt&rsquos such a tragedy,&rdquo she said. &ldquoI feel for his parents, and for the children.&rdquo


&lsquoHe was more into helping people than he was about himself&rsquo

By Kathie Dickerson
Coshocton (Ohio) Tribune

COSHOCTON, Ohio &mdash Although recognized as a leader by others, everyone was an equal in Raymond Border&rsquos eyes.

His family and his roots were important to him, and he would strengthen those links when given the opportunity.

Chad Lahna played football with Border on the Ridgewood High School team in 1997 and 1998. Lahna returned to coach at Ridgewood for a couple of years after college graduation, but since has relocated to the Tri-Valley Local School District.

Lahna said it was obvious Border liked his job in the U.S. Navy, but Border also remembered people who helped shape his life.

&ldquoHe stayed in touch with the football coaches, but not just about football,&rdquo Lahna said. &ldquoHe wanted to hear about personal lives too, your family and your life in general. When he was home he would just stop over &mdash you never knew he&rsquod be in the weight room or at a game.&rdquo

Navy Chief Petty Officer Raymond Border, 31, was killed Oct. 19, in Paktika province, Afghanistan, while assisting with a road assessment for a convoy. A son of Craig and Julie Border, of West Lafayette, this was Border&rsquos third tour of duty. His home unit was Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 74 in Gulfport, Miss., where he&rsquod been stationed for about 12 years.

Calling hours for Border were Nov. 2 at Miller Funeral Home in Coshocton.

From the early days together, Lahna remembered Border was easy going and easy to talk to, but when it was time for football practice, he was ready to go.

&ldquoWhat I remember about him is he was more into helping people than he was about himself,&rdquo Lahna said. &ldquoHe was a great team leader, a leader who led by example.&rdquo

Ridgewood football coach John Slusser said he had the privilege of being Border&rsquos coach for six years, starting in junior high on the track team.

&ldquoI saw him grow up from a little boy into a man,&rdquo Slusser said. &ldquoHe had a great heart. He was one of the best athletes I&rsquove coached in my 17 years there, not just because of his size and speed, but his attitude. Ray would do whatever it took to please you.&rdquo

Border&rsquos cousin Matt Nelson said the sailor was a role model for him, too.

&ldquoI didn&rsquot have a big brother growing up. He was my older cousin, and we spent a lot of time with the family,&rdquo Nelson said. &ldquoHe was an influence on me, especially when it came to wrestling. I remember my mom [Angie Border] was proud of him, and so I started wrestling when I was 6 years old.&rdquo

Border was a force on the Ridgewood football team and a state contender in wrestling. He also was into body building and entered competitions.

&ldquoI remember I wanted to grow up and be big like Ray,&rdquo Nelson said.

But he recalled other things about his cousin, too.

&ldquoHe was one of the best people I&rsquove ever been around, a good man who always put other people before himself,&rdquo Nelson said.

Kelly Cutshall has been friends with Border&rsquos mother, Julie, for about 20 years. She agreed with Nelson, but said it&rsquos the way all the Border men are.

&ldquoCraig, Raymond or Holden [Border&rsquos brother] would do anything for anyone,&rdquo Cutshall said.

She remembers Border always wanted to build things, and when he enlisted, he became a Seabee, a member of the Navy&rsquos Construction Battalion. Family also was important to Border.

&ldquoI&rsquove never seen a kid that was so respectful of his parents, especially Julie,&rdquo Cutshall said. &ldquoA big part of who he is, is because of Julie.&rdquo

Others who know the family have similar memories.

&ldquoHe was a wonderful kid, always had a pleasant attitude and treated everyone the same,&rdquo Kenny Savage said.

The Fresno resident&rsquos son, Jeremy Savage, graduated from Ridgewood High School the same year as Border. The two were on the track team, football team and wrestling team together.

Both boys also enlisted in the military about the same time, Savage said.

Jeremy Savage serves in the Army and has done two tours in Iraq and two tours in Afghanistan. He&rsquos currently stateside, but his father said Jeremy&rsquos next deployment will be in Germany.

&ldquoWest Lafayette is a small, close community, and I&rsquom touched by what the Borders are going through. Although, I can&rsquot say I understand how they&rsquore feeling,&rdquo he said. &ldquoI can&rsquot imagine there&rsquos anything worse than losing a child. No parent wants to see a child go before we do.&rdquo

One group of parents made a special presentation to the family before calling hours, but it&rsquos something they don&rsquot want to repeat.

&ldquoWe hope we never have to do that again,&rdquo said Claudia Bruening, a member of local chapter of Blue Star Mothers, parents of active military.

They presented the Borders with a Gold Star Banner, the symbol for a family that has lost someone while serving in the military.

The group of about 10 women visibly were shaken after the ceremony, and took time in the lobby at the funeral home to collect themselves.

Marge Pizzino explained the significance of the colors on the banner to the family when they made the presentation.

Each part of the Gold Star banner has a significance, she said. The red border represents blood shed in the past. The white field stands for purity, which spirit and the price of peace only the warrior understands. The blue star represents honor, loyalty and duty. The gold star represents valor and sacrifice when one of the warriors pays the ultimate price. It doesn&rsquot totally cover the blue star, but allows a blue border to show around the edge of the gold star, reminding the family they and their warrior continue to be honored, Pizzino said.

Savage attended calling hours for Border and said he witnessed the downtown motorcade to Miller Funeral Home on Nov. 1.

&ldquoWhat I saw was really nice,&rdquo he said.

An out-of-towner here to assist with honoring the family agreed.

&ldquoI&rsquove been to several of these and Coshocton should be really proud of themselves,&rdquo said Bill Sprague, a member of the Ohio Patriot Riders who is from Delroy.

The motorcycle group was part of an honor motorcade that escorted Border&rsquos body from Richard Downing Airport to the funeral home on Nov. 1.

Hundreds turned out to hold flags along Airport Road and Main Street when the procession went by.

&ldquoIt was a very good showing, but no matter how many you&rsquove gone to, it doesn&rsquot get any easier,&rdquo Sprague said.


Family, friends say farewell to Seabee

By Kathie Dickerson
Coshocton (Ohio) Tribune

COSHOCTON, Ohio &mdash Time stood still for hundreds of Coshocton County residents on Nov. 3.

In a field on a bend in the road headed toward Plainfield, a farmer sat on the top of his tractor, hat in hand. In that same field, a corn harvester sat idle as the operators stopped what they were doing to watch a caravan of more than 140 private vehicles, 100 motorcycles, fire trucks, ambulances and cruisers pass by.

It was the funeral procession of Navy Chief Petty Officer Raymond Border, 31, who was killed Oct. 19 in Paktika province, Afghanistan.

Funeral services were conducted at Miller Funeral Home in Coshocton for the son of Craig and Julie Border of West Lafayette. When the procession left Coshocton, it traveled through the village the Borders call home.

Main Street was lined with hundreds of people, such as Mary Slovak, holding American flags. The West Lafayette resident doesn&rsquot know the Border family, but she wanted to be present to pay tribute their son.

&ldquoI&rsquom here to show support for our heroes,&rdquo she said. &ldquoEvery one of them are in my heart.&rdquo

Bob Herron, a World War II Army veteran, rode into the village from Isleta with his neighbor, Jack Saylor.

&ldquoWe just wanted to be here to watch and show our support,&rdquo Saylor said.

People, young and old, lined the street. Caleb Shumaker, 14, didn&rsquot know the family either, but he wanted to be outside when the procession passed.

&ldquoI&rsquom here to show my support,&rdquo he said.

Others, like John and Brenda Mercer, wrote messages on banners.

&ldquoThey&rsquore a wonderful family in this community, that&rsquos why we&rsquore here,&rdquo Brenda Mercer said.

About 300 people were inside the funeral home, all the seats were filled well before the start of the service. Many of those seats held naval admirals and officers, as well as other military and elected officials. A legion of others gathered outside to listen to the service on speakers.

A video of Border&rsquos life showed photos of him as a child, opening Christmas gifts, playing on the floor with his father, wrestling, then as a father himself with two children and three stepchildren. Some of his favorite country music played in the background, but when Toby Keith&rsquos &ldquoI&rsquom An American Soldier&rdquo began to play, people wiped tears from their cheeks.

The family asked Pastor Dan Eggan, who was a teacher at Ridgewood for 35 years, to perform the funeral service.

&ldquoWe&rsquore gathered here to praise God for the gift of Raymond, but also to comfort one another in our loss,&rdquo Eggan said.

He shared some of the stories he&rsquod heard from family and friends, such as how Border was proud of being a builder chief in the Navy. He fixed a wheelbarrow for his grandmother when he was 5 and took his bicycle apart and put it back together the same year. By the time he was in the sixth grade, he&rsquod taken a carburetor off truck and rebuilt it, Eggan said. Border graduated first in his Building Trades class at the Coshocton County Career Center in 1999.

&ldquoBeing a leader and always trying to be better were always two hallmarks of Raymond&rsquos,&rdquo Eggan said.

When he decided to enlist he chose the Navy&rsquos Construction Battalion, and told a friend, &ldquoMy family&rsquos taken care of me all my life it&rsquos time I give back to them,&rdquo Eggan said recalling the story.

&ldquoRaymond was easy to love because he loved so easily,&rdquo Eggan said.

In addition to his parents, Border is survived by a son and daughter, Shelva and Donavan Border and a fiancÚ, Terrence Boyd, and her three children, Aaron, Caitlyn and Amber, of Gulfport, Miss. He also has a brother Holden, of West Lafayette, and a sister Shanna Weaver and her husband, Chuck, of Florida.

This was Border&rsquos third tour of duty in the war zones. His home unit was Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 74 in Gulfport, Miss., where he&rsquod been stationed for 12 years. He was killed when an improvised explosive device was detonated while he was assisting with a road assessment for a convoy.

For the second time this week, the community turned out to honor this fallen hero. On Nov. 1, downtown Coshocton was a sea of flags as people lined the streets when Border&rsquos body was brought to the funeral home from Richard Downing Airport.

On Nov. 4, hundreds of U.S. flags and red, white and blue balloons and banners could be seen between Coshocton and West Lafayette. When the funeral procession reached West Lafayette, crowds stood in silence for the 15 minutes it took for all the vehicles to pass by.

The six-mile stretch from West Lafayette to Plainfield Cemetery, where the burial service was conducted, was marked with a continuous line of flags, dotted periodically by clusters of people holding flags, standing with hats in hand and hands over their hearts. Along the route, like ladder fire trucks in Coshocton and West Lafayette, a bucket truck from Time Warner Cable held a large U.S. flag over the roadway.

Border&rsquos burial service was accompanied by full military honors. The parents were handed a flag by Rear Adm. Mark Handley, commander of 1st Naval Construction Division, in charge of all Seabees. Son Donavan and Border&rsquos fiancÚ also received flags from Rear Adm. Michael Tillotson, commander of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, which oversees the 1st Naval Construction Division.

&ldquoJulie wanted me to convey how honored and moved Raymond would be to see how the community has come together to honor him,&rdquo Eggan said.


Died: October 19, 2011


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  May the grace of God, the love of Jesus, and the peace of the Holy Spirit be with you and your family forever.
 


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