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Staff Sgt. Gregory T. Copes

October 20, 2012

This week’s American Hero is United States Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Gregory Copes of Altavista, Virginia.

Staff Sgt. Copes was assigned to 3rd Marine Special Operations Battalion, Camp Lejeune, N.C. His deployment to Afghanistan began in January 2012, as he was expected to return to the United States in September. Tragically, Staff Sgt. Copes made the ultimate sacrifice on August 17th, in Farrah province, when an Afghani police officer shot and killed two Marines. Sadly, Greg was one of those them.

ABC13 reporter Parker Slaybaugh, of WSET-TV in Virginia, wrote about the Staff Sgt and his family:

His brothers say they had already began planning a get-together when their brother returned to the States. They say they hope their brother’s death causes people to realize that freedom comes with a price. “He knew it was dangerous, but it was part of what he did, and part of what he was,” said William Copes, Greg Copes’s younger brother.

“Freedom isn’t free, it does come with a price. I am thankful that men and women out there, like my brother, choose to serve, said Earl Copes, Greg Copes’ older brother.

Earl Copes works as a firefighter in Lynchburg and volunteers at a fire department in Altavista. Friday morning on his way to work, he heard about a shooting in Afghanistan on the radio.

“To myself I said a little prayer, hoping that he was safe and okay, not knowing that later on that day I would receive the call,” said Earl Copes.

Greg Copes graduated from Hargrave Military Academy in 1994 and Longwood University in 1999. He was an avid outdoorsman and also loved music and sports.

“He always loved to go out and throw the football and stuff,” said Earl Copes.

William Copes, much like his two older brothers, makes a living serving others. He says his brother knew from a young age that he wanted to serve in the military.

“Growing up we played Army running through the woods,” said William Copes.

The events of September 11, 2001 caused the staff sergeant to officially enlist in the Marine Corp. He served all over the world, including tours to both Iraq and Afghanistan.

“He wanted me to come see him when he got home. He wanted to get together with everybody in the family. He was a great man and he will be greatly missed,” said William Copes as he recalled his last conversation with his brother.

Greg Copes also leaves behind a wife and four kids, ranging from six months to six years old.

Today, Staff Sgt Copes lies in eternal rest at Mount Hermon United Methodist Church Cemetery in Lynch Station, Virginia. We would also like to report that, having been survived by a wife and four small children, memorial contributions may be made to  “Greg Copes Family Fund”, c/o Navy Federal Credit Union or make checks payable to Tia M. Copes C/O Bank of the James, 1110 Main St., Altavista, VA 24517.

We ask that you remember his family through this difficult time. We also ask that you forever remember him as an American Hero.

 

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