Ashtabula, OH, US
U.S. Marine Corps
LCPL, 1/2, RCT- 2, 1ST MARDIV (FWD), I MEF (FWD)(PARENT CMD: 2D MARDIV)
07/24/2007, MUSA QAL`EH DISTRICT CENTER, AFGHANISTAN
Lance Corporal Kevin Michael Cornelius was born April 5, 1990. He graduated from Lakeside High School in 2008 where he was active in the wrestling and football programs. One of Kevin’s favourite times was the bicycle trip he took in 2006, when he rode his bike from East Glacier, Montana to Ashtabula, a distance of 1,975 miles.
He joined the U.S. Marine Corps immediately following graduation. A lifetime member of Bethany Lutheran Church, he served as the only acolyte for many years and even filled the position again during his visit home this past Christmas. Kevin was always smiling, always caring, always willing to help those in need and always finding a way to make people laugh or smile (even when they did not want to).
Kevin loved his family and friends and was so proud of being a United States Marine.
Small American flags led the way home for Lance Corporal Kevin Cornelius, the miniature stars and stripes fluttering in the breeze down the long driveways of Lakeside High School, where classmates, friends and family gathered to mourn, honor and remember the fallen Marine.
Debbie Jones stood on the side walk with her sons and members of several Boy Scout troops, all waving flags, wiping away tears, the men clutching their hats to their chests.
Kevin Chip Ranck, 14, is a freshman at Lakeside High School. He never met Cornelius, but he said the fellow Lakeside Dragon will never be forgotten. “I just felt it was important to be here, because (Cornelius) was from my school. He wasn’t that much older than I am. I know his life was cut short, but I know by the people here that he will never, never be forgotten, even by the people who didn’t know him personally.”
… it was mostly the people who didn’t know Cornelius personally who came to stand by the roadside Sunday.
“I came to say thanks today,” Nichole Colby said. “And I wasn’t the only one. I didn’t know (Cornelius), but I have the deepest respect for him. I can say that there was a display of chivalry among Ashtabula County residents today. Everyone here cares.”
Darla Cunningham brought her son Tommy, 11, to pay their respects.“I didn’t know Kevin, but I knew of him,” she said. “This has been so hard. I’ve cried a number of times. I get goosebumps just thinking about his death. I felt like being here today was important.”
Cunningham’s voice wavered and dropped to a scant whisper when she thought of what she wishes she could say to Cornelius. “Thanks. I would simply say thanks. I don’t think anything I could say would ever be enough. This thank you is an overwhelming feeling.”