Local man dies in Iraq saving fellow SEALS

By RAELYNN RICARTE

News staff writer

August 5, 2006

A Navy SEAL from Hood River died in Iraq on Wednesday while saving his team members from a fierce attack by insurgents.

Marc Alan Lee, 28, was killed while on active duty in Ramadi. His mother, Debbie Lee, said her son staged an offensive diversion in a moment of crisis. He reportedly made the decision to sacrifice his life after another SEAL was hit by sniper fire and several men were trapped inside a building.

“It was so like Marc to give up his life to save his friends. I am so proud of him — he is my hero,” said Lee.

She said Marc lived with a strong Christian belief that he was here to make a difference for the good. It was that commitment to God that led her son into the military. And then gave him strength during the grueling training to become a member of the elite Special Forces team.

“He’s up in heaven now and I can get through this because I know that I will see him again. It’s the here and now that’s hard,” said Lee.

Marc was home schooled for much of his education. But also attended Horizon Christian School and played soccer with the Hood River Valley High School team. Four years ago he married Maya Elbaum and they made their home in New York.

Debbie, who moved to Arizona in December, said a local memorial service could be planned once all of the details of her son’s burial are decided upon.

“Marc touched lives everywhere he went because of the person that he was. He will be missed,” she said.

Lee said in spite of coping with the grief of losing a beloved son, she still believes that America needs to be engaged in the war on terrorism. She said it was his patriotic desire to defend his countrymen that led Marc into the fatal battle. Out of respect for him, and other military members making the ultimate sacrifice, Lee said the job needs to be finished and not abandoned.

“I still believe it is right for us to be there. I wish the media would do a better job of reporting on the good things that are happening for the Iraq people because of us,” Lee said.

Until recently, Lee’s oldest son, Kris, 32, was also on active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps. Her son-in-law, Chris Wells, is an Army veteran.

Debbie Lee owned and operated Kids R Us, a private pre-school and kindergarten from her former Barrett Drive home for years.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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