Funeral processions planned for two soldiers
Law enforcement in Spokane and North Idaho will join the U.S. military in processions today to deliver to funeral homes the remains of two Coeur d’Alene soldiers killed in Iraq.
A procession today around 11:30 a.m. will escort the remains of Sgt. Nathan R. Beyers from Spokane International Airport to Hennessey-Smith Funeral Home on North Division Street in Spokane. Another around 1:15 p.m. will escort the remains of Army Spc. Nicholas W. Newby from the Coeur d’Alene Airport/Pappy Boyington Field to Yates Funeral Home on Fourth Street in Coeur d’Alene.
The Coeur d’Alene procession will pass Lake City High School, Newby’s alma mater, which his family has suggested would be a good place for community members to gather if they wish to pay respects. In Spokane, the best gathering spot for the public along the procession route for Beyers would be on West Pilot Drive east of the airport, said Sgt. Benjamin Ashworth with the Washington National Guard.
Newby and Beyers were killed July 7 when insurgents attacked their convoy with an improvised explosive device in Baghdad, the Defense Department reported. A third Coeur d’Alene soldier, Staff Sgt. Jason Rzepa, had both legs amputated below the knee due to injuries sustained in the attack, a news release from the Idaho Army National Guard said.
Rzepa was awarded a Purple Heart on July 8 while in an Iraqi military hospital. He has returned to the United States and is receiving medical care at Fort Sam Houston in Texas. Both Beyers and Newby will posthumously receive the Purple Heart and other medals, said Col. Tim Marsano, a spokesman for the Idaho Army National Guard.
Rzepa’s family will join him to assist him with recovery, prosthesis and physical therapy, the release said.
“Despite having had both of his legs amputated below the knees, Jason’s spirits are extremely high and we are very optimistic for a speedy recovery,” said a statement from his family in the news release. “Jason has asked us to extend a huge message of thanks for the overwhelming amount of support, prayers and positive energy from our friends, family and the community. This will surely assist Jason through a speedy recovery and we are greatly appreciative.”
A memorial service for Beyers and Newby will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Lake City Community Church, 600 N. Ramsey Road in Coeur d’Alene.
A news release from the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department said the expected route for today’s procession for Newby is: south from the Coeur d’Alene Airport on Ramsey Road, continuing south on Northwest Boulevard. The procession is expected to turn east on Garden Avenue, then north on Fourth Street. Yates is located at 744 N. Fourth St.
The Spokane procession will travel east on West Pilot Drive to Geiger Boulevard, where it will continue northeast to the Interstate 90 on-ramp at Grove Road. It will continue east to the Division Street exit and travel north to Hennessey-Smith at 2203 N. Division St., Ashworth said.