Army Pfc. Erin L. McLyman
Died March 13, 2010 serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom
26, of Federal Way, Wash.; assigned to the 296th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; died March 13 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked her base with mortar fire.
(The following is taken from www.kval.com) EUGENE, Ore. -- A memorial service is scheduled for next week to honor a 2001 Sheldon High School graduate who died Saturday in a mortar attack in Iraq
U.S. Army PFC. Erin McLyman, 26, was killed in a mortar attack on her base in Balad, Iraq.
MyLyman's family said she died doing what she loved, but that doesn't make the pain any easier.
Erin's mother, Flora Neustrel, said she was proud of her daughter long before she joined the military to fight for her country - and long before she deployed to Iraq.
"When I was in college I had to do a paper on my hero," she said, "and I did it on Erin."
Neustrel was inspired by her daughter's fight against addiction as a teenager. Erin told her story to KVAL News in 2001.
Then 17, she shared how her life spun out of control. "I drank and smoked a lot of weed and used crank and cocaine," Erin said.
Erin's parents thought their daughter had already faced her biggest challenge.
"Erin was the type who could get herself out of everything," Neustrel said.
The following is the file story cited above;
She lived most recently in Federal Way, Wash. She graduated from Sheldon High School in Eugene, Ore.
KVAL’s Jennifer Winters met Erin McLyman nine years ago just before McLyman graduated from Sheldon High School.
At the time, KVAL News featured a story about Erin’s success story as she kicked drug and alcohol addiction.
Erin McLyman dances with grace and confidence during halftime at a Sheldon High School basketball game.
She now counts the girls dancing next to her as friends, but just one year before they feared the 17-year-old.
Erin was addicted to drugs and alcohol, and despised anyone not a part of her drug world.
“I drank, smoked a lot of weed, marijuana, used crank and cocaine and speed, methamphetamines,” she said.
Erin first started stealing beer from her dad at age nine. By eighth grade her parents knew something was seriously wrong.
“My grades were dropping, I wasn’t going to class, weird people would come over to
the house and drop by in the middle of the night. I’d leave and not come back,” she said.
She ended up at the Looking Glass Adolescent Recovery Program after she was arrested for underage drinking. But she continued to use drugs, dropped out of school and left home.
That’s when Erin reached a new low, with her then nine-year-old sister by her side.
“I was with my little sisters, brought her over to a friend’s to get some drugs and she was with me and I did it right in front of her,” she said.
As Erin’s life crumbled in front of her, she was convinced again to seek treatment. She spent three months in a Corvallis halfway house.
“They were like this is for you, we’re not going to make you do anything, it’s all on your own,” she recalled.
Through a strict schedule, counseling and support, Erin decided to reclaim her life and her dignity and stayed clean.
Erin’s father, Bob McLyman, is also a recovering alcoholic. He said he saw a real transformation.
“I’d say she’s got a conscience now, before there was no conscience, no feeling,” he said.
Bob said it is tough knowing his daughter probably learned to use drugs and alcohol from him but said now they are helping each other.
“What treatment does is show you how to live, it gives you a life to live and a process of doing so,” he said.
Erin now gets mostly A’s in school and is engaged in her family and school life. She has goals of graduating high school and joining the Air Force.
“I still go to the same school I used at so some kids come up and say ‘want to smoke a bowl?’ and I say ah, no, I got to go to class,” she said.
Erin’s father has advice for other families facing drug or alcohol addiction: “They’re all your got, they’re what you brought into the world. Don’t give up on them,” he said. “Don’t quit.”
As for Erin’s little sister, she still looks up to Erin, but in a whole new way.
“She looks up to me,” Erin said. “It’s kind of weird, but it feels good.”