Marine Lance Cpl. Gavin R. Brummund
Died June 10, 2010 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom
22, of Arnold, Calif.; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died June 10 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations.
(The following was taken from www.uniondemocrat.com of June 21, 2010) Men, women and children crowded into the Calaveras County Fairgrounds Saturday evening to pay tribute to U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Gavin Brummund, the first soldier from the county to die in combat since the Vietnam War.
Hundreds came to hear tributes and remembrances from family, friends and fellow Marines for Brummund, 22, who was killed June 10 in Afghanistan after he stepped on an improvised explosive device in the Helmand province.
A U.S. Marine detail marched Brummund’s flag-draped coffin onto the stage to open the 6 p.m. ceremony, and buglers played out the notes of “Taps” and a team fired off a 21-gun salute to close.
Speaker after speaker recalled the 2006 Bret Harte High School graduate and Arnold resident as a man who made others smile, could relate to anyone, spoke softly, but inspired many.
“I really didn’t find the words that were sufficient,” his widow, Michaela, told the crowd after stepping to the microphone. “How do I speak about such a man in mere minutes?”
She urged attendees to remember her husband not just for his sacrifice to his country, but for his life out of uniform.
“I know many of you are proud of Gavin, the Marine, and we all should be,” she said. “But I want you to know that I’m extremely proud of Gavin Roderick Brummund, the man.”
Brummund’s father-in-law, Kevin Gause, told the story of a young man slowly transformed. When Gause’s daughter had first mentioned Brummund’s name, he wanted to “squeeze his hand and explain just how important Michaela is to me,” he told the crowd.
Brummund’s reputation and an “unauthorized visit” to his daughter started the two on a “very rocky road,” he continued. But his soon-to-be son-in-law hit a soft spot with the former Marine when he told him he intended to enlist. He would later baptize Brummund.
“Gavin went from that boy that I wanted to chase away to a man, a godly man, that I loved with all my heart,” he said.
Cpl. Brandon Beasley fought alongside Brummund in the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, during two deployments and was at his side when he was killed. He remembered his fellow soldier as a tireless friend.
“No matter how tired you were, or how long the day had been, he would be the one to get up and walk a mile with you to help out,” Beasley said in a statement read for him by former Marine Doug Rocky during the ceremony.
Brummund was honored with a posthumous Purple Heart during the ceremony, which was presented to his wife and parents, along with the flag from his coffin.
Brummund’s body arrived in Calaveras County Friday, escorted by a California Highway Patrol motorcade and followed by a line of cars that stretched along Highway 4 from Copperopolis to the horizon.
Along the way, the procession passed scores of flag-waving supporters, some in uniform, some with signs of tribute or condolence.
Marjorie Center, of Copperopolis, was there, holding a full-sized American flag. The 71-year-old has a grandson in Iraq who, like Brummund, is 22 years old.
“I just pray that they feel the comfort of the prayers for them,” she said of Gavin’s family.
Linda Stefanick, a broker with Copper Valley Realty, closed up shop to be there. Her 21-year-old nephew is currently deployed with the Army.
“There’s nothing more important than this,” she said.