Justin T Paton
February 17, 2007
Killed in Taramia, Iraq, when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small arms fire.
Daily Tribune 02/20/07:
Alanson man dies in combat in Iraq
By MIKE FORNES
Tribune Staff Writer
ALANSON - A 2000 graduate of Inland Lakes High School was killed Saturday in Iraq.
The family of Army Pfc. Justin T. Paton of Alanson received notification Monday that he died when his patrol came under fire 40 miles north of Baghdad.
“We know that he is back in the States now, he's in Dover, Del.,” said Paton's sister, Stormy Dickinson. “We can't make any kind of arrangements for his funeral until we get a date when he can come home.”
Dickinson said her brother was a member of the 1st Cavalry Division, Delta Company and had recently been named the unit's leader. He was deployed to Iraq on Oct. 31, 2006. He had worked as a rehabilitation technician at Northern Michigan Hospital before joining the Army in 2005.
Family members said that Paton was born on July 4, 1982, and always thought that the fireworks were for his birthday.
“They will be from now on,” all agreed.
Paton's high school football coach remembered him Monday as “a bright young man and a fantastic kid - the kind of kid you hope your own son grows up to be.”
Inland Lakes Principal Don Killingbeck also recalled a visit he received from Paton, 24, last fall just before he went overseas.
“He stopped in the school last fall,” Killingbeck said. “He had acquired a real physical presence with all his weight-lifting since I had last seen him, he looked like a pro football player. I gave him an Inland Lakes T-shirt to wear over there.”
Killingbeck said he had also taught Paton in a driver's education class.
“Indian River has lost a good son and a bright leader, someone who would have come back and had the ability to serve the community and be productive,” Killingbeck stated.
The son of Donald and Shelley Paton of Alanson, Justin is also survived by a sister, Stormy Dickinson, a brother Alan Parkey and numerous other family members.
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