Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Mike Stokely Foundation

This letter is a followup to the letter posted below.
In the first hours after news of Mike's death came to us last August 16, our family put in motion, with the help of friends, the formation of the Mike Stokely Foundation. It was our family's desire to encourage those who wanted to do something to show support for our family and remember Mike to think about contributing to the Foundation rather than sending us flowers or other presents. The generosity of our friends, and so many others who have heard of the Foundation allowed Mike to be remembered and honored these past few weeks with the awarding of $2,100 of book scholarships to five students headed to college, including two at his former high school. Plans are underway to provide funding from the Foundation to help purchase books for underprivileged children, and for various libraries that had some connection to Mike. Flowers would have died; other presents would have soon been forgotten, but the money contributed to the Foundation has helped purchase a lifetime of learning, and hopefully bring a better life to those who will receive books purchased with Foundation funds.
Mike's life was about helping others. Mike's life and memory have become a vehicle to help others, even if only a little and few at a time. The Foundation will not change the world, but it will do what Mike did his whole life and that is do what can be done to make a positive difference in as many lives as possible. For the foreseeable future, the positive difference, in Mike's honor and memory, will continue to be made, thanks to the continued support of so many.

Memorial Day is a day of rememberance. Personally, and for the Mike Stokely Foundation, I thank those who remembered Mike in so many ways, and for those who helped make it financially possible to remember him through helping others, and furthering Mike's passion for reading.

On this Memorial Day, I say this - You can't die for a just cause if you didn't live for one. Mike Stokely is an example of a life lived well and to the fullest. He did not flinch when asked to fight in the service of his country. Throughout his service for his country and with fellow soldiers, even in his final moments, he continued to be a beacon of positive spirit whose big friendly eyes and generous smile were his tradmark. While others debated, he served. Mike Stokely died in the same way he lived - devoted to God, Family, Duty, Honor, Country. No less, he died in the same way he lived, looking out for others, as he watched the back of two friends and fellow soldiers. Mike Stokely lived for such just causes and willing sacrificed his life just because of them. How much more just a cause can there be?

I will remember those who serve in the lineage of service that keeps our country free and safe, for they serve while others debate. Their just cause of service is not found in the politics of debate, but in the answer of the call to Duty, Honor, Country - a duty to honor and obey the lawful orders of their Commander-in-Chief and thereby serve the Country they each love dearly enough to be willing to give their very life. I am thankful for those willing to serve, especially those who gave their life. I am ever thankful that so many return alive. God Bless America. Thank you God for those willing to answer the call of their country and the just cause they serve - Duty, Honor, Country.


Robert Stokely
proud dad, SGT Mike Stokely
KIA IED Yusufiyah Iraq 8/16/05

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