November 25, 2004 in Idaho

Meet the troops: Spc. Paul Sturgis

The Spokesman-Review
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Spc. Paul Sturgis

Sturgis spent six years in the military but left in 1994 after serving in the Middle East in Operation Restore Hope right after Desert Storm. He returned to Coeur d’Alene and worked a variety of construction jobs and most recently worked graveyard shift at the Flying J truck stop along Interstate 90 at Post Falls. He is 36, single and has many family members spread between Coeur d’Alene and Medical Lake, including his mother, Rose, younger brother Matthew and sisters Cathy Whallon and Cheryl Lott.

He was talked into joining the 116th for this deployment to Iraq by a friend who thought his experience would be helpful. He has no regrets, he said.

The deployment has come with some pain: “My father died on the 12th of December 2003. He fell off a ladder working on the steeple of a church in Rathdrum. My nephew died May 25 in a motorcycle accident.”

The tragedies hit especially close. “Dec. 7 was always a red-letter day for me – it’s the day I went into boot camp and I have always celebrated it,” Sturgis said. “May 25 is my birthday.”

When his tour is over, he knows what he will do: “I want to go ice fishing. I’ll go to Twin, it always freezes.” He did a lot of fishing on leave earlier this month, he said.

“There are no stresses, no hurries, no worries.”

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