06 April, 2007

SPC Curtis Spivey

Looking online for information about the home opening game of my favorite baseball team, I noticed an ambiguous headline: "A Soldier's Sad Ending." It was about a soldier named Curtis Spivey.

Bitter and broken, Army Spc. Curtis Spivey didn't feel much like a hero when he came home to Chula Vista from his third tour in Iraq last fall.

A roadside bomb had blown up his Humvee near Baghdad on Sept. 16, wounding the soldiers inside and throwing him 40 feet in the air from his perch as the vehicle's rooftop gunner. The blast shattered his legs, bruised his brain and broke his back, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

Spivey, 25, hated the thought of spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

“He was not a happy camper when he came here,” said Al Kovach, president of the Cal-Diego chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, who counseled Spivey during his recuperation at the VA Medical Center in La Jolla. “He kept the lights off, the shades pulled. The only person he would talk to was his father.”

But fortunately he didn't stay "bitter and broken."
But nurtured by the tough love of his ex-Navy dad and the worshipful love of his 2-year-old daughter, Mariana, Spivey had made what relatives described as a remarkable turnaround. Last weekend, he talked with his family about his future for the first time.

“He realized there was another life,” said his father, Joseph L. Spivey, 52, of Chula Vista. “He was looking to go to college, to start a second career.”

There's much, much more. But the tragedy of it all is that he died of a brain anyeurism on Monday, nearly seven months after he was wounded.

His name sounded vaguely familiar, but for the life of me I couldn't figure out why. Finally I got smart: I checked the Valour-IT requests, and sure enough... there he was; he'd had a Valour-IT laptop for at least four months. Maybe, just maybe it had a small role in moving him from that "bitter and broken" place in which he started and out into the light of hope for the short time he had left...

Rest in peace and with the love of those who knew you, dear warrior. Your spirit was fierce, but alas...