Southeast Texas says goodbye to fallen soldier

Southeast Texas says goodbye to fallen soldier

The Southeast Texas community is mourning the loss of a Lumberton man who died in the line of duty Wednesday, Sept. 28, at the age of 21.

Private First Class David Drake was born Oct. 7, 1989 in Houston to Tommye Ann Clark and William David Drake. He lived most of his life as a resident of Lumberton and graduated from Lumberton High School in 2008. He went on to attend Lamar Institute of Technology and received a certificate for Fire Protection Technology before joining the U.S. Army.

PFC Drake was a decorated soldier, receiving several honors such as the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the NATO Medal and the Combat Action Badge.

His family described him as compassionate and kind, “a joy to be around,” and a man who had a love of sports, especially football, which he played throughout junior high and part of high school. 

He was a caring individual who would go any distance to help those in need, according to loved ones, and especially loved his family.

PFC Drake was one of three soldiers killed in Afghanistan by an improvised explosive device that day. A military jet return Drake’s body to Southeast Texas Oct. 7, which would have been his 22nd birthday.

The cortege route started at the Jack Brooks Regional Airport and traveled up to Lumberton to allow his hometown to pay tribute and then back to Beaumont. Thousands lined the streets of Lumberton that day to say goodbye to the fallen soldier.

Along with the show of support the day his body was returned home, hundreds of Southeast Texans turned out at Victory Temple Church on 11th Street in Beaumont to commemorate his life at a memorial Monday, Oct. 10, and at his funeral Tuesday, Oct. 11. The funeral procession was led by the Patriot Guard, and countless vehicles joined in the motorcade across Beaumont to Forest Lawn Memorial Cemetery, where full military honors took place.

Memorial contributions may be made to Soldier’s Angels, 1792 Washington Boulevard, Pasadena, Calif. 91104, or you may make a contribution online at www.soldiersangels.org.

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