Homecoming for Fallen Sailor

by Kelly Choate on November 1, 2011 at 7:46 am

The body of a Coshocton County Navy Seabee who was killed in the line of duty is back home.

"He was an awesome guy," said Sheila Bookless.  "He never knew a stranger.  He was just such a great kid."

U.S. Navy Builder Chief Petty Officer Raymond Border was killed on October 19th by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.  Hundreds of people lined Main Street in Coshocton to honor the fallen sailor who returned home on Tuesday.

"He would just be so blessed to see this," said Brookless.

Bookless said Border was her sister’s nephew.  She said he was in the Navy for 12 years, and he was serving a second tour of duty in Afghanistan.  Border was supposed to come back for a two week visit around Thanksgiving to spend time with family.

"I remember the last time we went up," said Brookless.  "It was just so good to talk to him.  It’s just so sad that he’s not going to see his kids grow up."

Children from Central Elementary School joined the crowd and watched the motorcade pass by.

"I just thought it would mean a lot to him to have the representation today of students that are from the same county that he was born in," said sixth grade teacher Debra Clark.

Clark says her students are beginning to understand what it means to be a hometown hero.

"I think that they need to feel a connection that even though this is something happening far away that we’re not really that removed from it," said Clark.

Becky Bowden and Sirena Elliott are both mothers of Marines.

Bowden said she’s a five year Navy veteran herself, and as she handed out flags, she thought about her own son’s safety.

"What means more to me, more than me being a veteran, is my son is a Staff Sergeant in the Marines, and his wife is a Corporal in the Marines," said Bowden.  "They just returned from Afghanistan three weeks ago."

Elliott’s son is set to ship out next year.

"I’ll pray and hope for the best, but I expect that he will be getting deployed, and I’ll give it to God, because I can’t handle it by myself," said Elliott.

Those who knew and loved Border are mourning another life taken by the wars overseas.  Bookless had some heartfelt words to share with other military families who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

"Our hearts go out to you and we pray for you each day," said Brookless.