Florida Times-Union Jacksonville.com 01/07/07:
Originally created Sunday, January 7, 2007
Soldier remembered as 'protector' of others
Army Pvt. Clinton Tyler McCormick died Dec. 27 in Iraq
By ADAM AASEN, The Times-Union
The Rev. John Harwell said anyone who met Army Pvt. Clinton Tyler McCormick knew he lived up to his name.
While he was preparing for the funeral services of the soldier from Jacksonville who died in Iraq on Dec. 27, he looked up the English origins of the name Tyler - which was the name he went by - and saw it meant "protector."
As a soldier who went to Iraq in October, served in 35 missions and "always followed the code," Harwell said McCormick was a great protector. Even letters of support from soldiers called him the "protector."
"Tyler had no idea how much he lived up to his name," Harwell said during the services.
At least a hundred supporters filled a small room in the Town and Country Funeral Home on Saturday morning to mourn the loss of 20-year-old McCormick, who was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq just after Christmas.
Outside the standing-room-only funeral home, another hundred supporters from Patriot Guard, a motorcycle group that shows support at military funerals, stood with American Flags in hand.
Harwell, who was McCormick's youth minister at Evangel Temple Assembly of God, said he remembers him as an enthusiastic man who was always looking to help others. He said McCormick, 5-foot-5 and 120 pounds, was full of energy. He said he was small, but "dynamite comes in small packages."
McCormick was assigned to the 2nd Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colo., according to the Department of Defense.
McCormick lived in Jacksonville since he was an infant and attended Crystal Springs Elementary School, Joseph Stilwell Middle School and the A.P. Randolph Academies of Technology before earning his GED.
"Here I am, trying to get home to my family and Tyler is never going to see his family again. It crushes you," he said.
The Rev. Garry Wiggins of Evangel Temple said McCormick called him when he arrived in Iraq to ask for a prayer. He said McCormick said he became more religious while in Iraq.
Wiggins said the young soldier wanted everyone to write him when he was in Iraq. In McCormick's memory, Wiggins urged the crowd to write to any soldiers in Iraq and send packages.
"But also send some prayers on their behalf," he said.
McCormick's brother, Daniel McCormick, said they always dreamed of joining the Army. The plan was for the two to join together, but the older brother couldn't pass the entrance test because of a knee injury.
McCormick also is survived by his sister, Shavonne McCormick, his mother, Lori McCormick of Jacksonville, and his father, Kevin McCormick, of Orange Park.
Harwell said there will be a memorial service for the public 4 p.m. Jan. 21 at the Evangel Temple Assembly of God, 5755 Ramona Blvd.
Harwell said McCormick called his church leaders his "heroes," but the truth is that McCormick was everyone's hero. He was a hero for having the courage to go to Iraq and for bravely protecting the troops. But most of all, he said, McCormick was a hero for just making people laugh and being himself.
"For some of us, Tyler was a hero when he just became 'Tyler the Protector,' " he said.