HIGHLAND RANCH, CO, US
U.S. Marine Corps
CPL, MP, I MHG FWD, (ATTACHED TO 3/1, RCT-7), I MEF (FWD) (PARENTCMD: I MHG)
I always thought Ryan and I knew you best. Growing up we were such a tight little unit. You always took care of us and were so very protective. With all that’s happened this past week, I’ve realized I was wrong. There are many, many others who knew you well. And many, many others that you took care of and protected.
I knew you as the young man who, along with your brother, paid for an older man’s gas when his credit card was declined. I knew you as the man who, along with your brother and step brother, pushed an elderly couple’s car to the gas station when it broke down. I can still see you declining his attempt to pay you and his blowing kisses to the car as we drove away. Ryan and I talked about it later and Ryan said, “Mom, he does that stuff all the time.”
What I didn’t know and have been finding out this past week is what you did for others. I’ve gotten so many messages with sweet stories about you. There’s one in particular that paints your picture. Lisa Frey, wife of LtCol Grant Frey wrote:
…. I met him a few times and was always impressed with is demeanor, not to mention his smile! Until my husband reminded me, I had forgotten that Max had taken the lead in the care of our dog, Art, when we were off island to attend our daughter’s K9 school graduation. When we returned after a week, Art was groomed, happy and obviously well cared for – and I had Max to thank for going above and beyond just housing him at the kennel. He spent time with Art and played with him so Art wouldn’t be lonely. Because he refused to allow us to pay him, I insisted Grant take gift cards to Max and the other Marine who helped with Art. Max wanted to refuse the gift card… and had to be “ordered” to accept it. You raised a fine young man.
I spent the past weekend at Camp Lejeune with a number of Max’s K9 friends. I heard many stories about Max’s escapades… and if you have any doubt in your mind, I hope this eases it some. Max touched many lives and had tremendous impact on the Marines I was speaking with. Your son was loved and respected by them – love and respect that is earned, and not earned easily. He will NEVER be forgotten by any of them and our world is greatly diminished by his loss.
Maxie, what gives me my greatest peace is the conversation we had when we drove to Lookout Mountain before you left for Iraq.
I said, “Honey, I’ve never pushed my faith on you but I am going to now, I have to know – Is Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior?”
“Yes Mom, I told you that before.”
“I need to hear you say it again.”
“And you did – you said Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior”
I said, Okay then, you can go (meaning to Iraq). I know we’ll be together again, honey, I truly do. It will be a long rest of my life without you but I’ll trade it for eternity with you. The last message you sent and that I still have on my phone is “Good night momma, I love ya!
Good night baby, I love you too.