SANDIA PARK, NM, USA U.S. Army SGT, COMPANY A, 5TH BATTALION, 20TH INFANTRY, 3BCT, FORT LEWIS, WA BAQUBAH, IRAQ 05/06/2007
Joel was a 6’5″ gentle giant of a man. He had a wonderful smile that would light up a room. He would make friends with strangers in five minutes and have them smiling and laughing with him.
He was a competitive “adrenaline junkie” who loved to skydive, tinker with computers, play chess and ice hockey. He loved animals, especially cats and had five! He had a great sense of humor and loved to play practical jokes and goof around. The guys in his unit all commented on the fact he greatly improved morale when he joined their group.
One of the guys called him “Louie” as in Louie Anderson, the comedian. Quote from a fellow soldier: “Your son made me laugh during the worst times imaginable and that’s something I’ll never forget.”
Joel loved to live life to the fullest. He was always the one planning trips to the beach, snowboarding and any else he could think of that was fun. He wanted to get out there and enjoy all life had to offer. He was best friends with his little brother, Justin. They were like two peas in a pod and could always be found just hanging out or seeking another adventure. Joel was always the one trying the new adventures; the free spirit who didn’t want to be tied down to a desk job when he got out of the service.
Joel was born in Ontario, Canada and lived in Florida, New Mexico, Arizona and Washington. He loved to play hockey even as an adult and played often with his brother in Tacoma, WA. As a child, he would be a magnet for other kids and we would often have 5 or more kids playing in our house at one time. He was a natural leader and liked to organize street hockey games for the neighborhood kids. The military was the perfect job for Joel, as he loved the adventure and camaraderie with his Brothers in arms.
One of the happiest days of his life was when he came home and told me he had been accepted into the army. Joel was stationed out of Ft Lewis, WA and was with the Stryker Brigade. He was killed on May 6, 2007 with five other US Army soldiers and a freelance news photographer from Russia when their Stryker vehicle was hit with an explosively formed penetrator (EFP). It was the worst hit to date on a Stryker, a faster eight-wheeled armored troop carrier that is the mainstay of the Fort Lewis infantry brigades.
He is dearly loved and missed by his family, who will honor and cherish his memory for as long as we live.
Peace to each manly soul that sleepeth; Rest to each faithful eye that weepeth… ~Thomas Moore
GOD Bless our troops and their families.