Green Country Family Prepares To Bury Fallen Soldier

Thursday, June 15th 2006, 5:44 am
By: News On 6

On the Homefront, a Green Country family will bury a soldier and a son later today.

Army Corporal Derek Stanley died last week in Afghanistan. According to News On 6 reporter Omar Villafranca, friends and family say Derek died doing what he loved.

When 20-year old Derek Stanley was deployed to Afghanistan earlier this year, his mother says he was eager to go. He called her when he got there and told her he loved the view of the mountains.

Derek's mom says her son didn't find a clear path in high school. But while at the Thunderbird Youth Academy in Pryor he made up his mind he wanted to be a soldier. Instructors say he worked hard and focused on what he needed to do at the academy.

Family members say Derek also loved cheering and fighting for the underdog.

"It didn't matter what race, color size, he was always the friend of somebody who was picked on," said Darlyn Smith/Derek's Mother.

Derek was in Afghanistan less than four months. His mother says he was found shot while on guard duty. His death has been called non-combat related and is still under investigation. Funeral services will take place later this morning in Fort Gibson.