Soldier given a fireman's send-off

Lisbon native killed in Iraq remembered as always `having fun'

September 29, 2006|By Melissa Harris | Melissa Harris,SUN REPORTER

The honor guard carried Sgt. David "Joey" Davis' flag-draped casket out of the church yesterday and hoisted it onto the back of an antique fire engine. It seemed a fitting way for the fun-loving volunteer firefighter and combat medic to go out -- second, perhaps, only to the back of a pick-up truck.

Yesterday, relatives and friends laid to rest the 32-year-old Lisbon native, who died Sept. 17 after a homemade bomb exploded next to his armored vehicle as his unit conducted an operation in a teeming, violent Baghdad neighborhood.

During the funeral, the U.S. Army honored Sergeant Davis with the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. His job was to care for injured soldiers, and before his deployment, he spent more than a decade with the Lisbon Volunteer Fire Company.

"He liked being a hero," his sister-in-law, Mrs. Peggy Cantler-Davis, said.

As a long line of Lisbon's yellow fire engines pulled out of the Lisbon United Methodist Church, some of the town's residents lined the funeral route holding American flags.

During Sergeant Davis' deployment, the town's post office had set off an area for him, accepting donations for packages from home and directions on how to write to him, according to the volunteer company.

Members of the company stood in formation behind the police department's honor guard, many crying as his coffin was carried from the church.

Sergeant Davis' brother, James "Andy" Davis, who is a firefighter, said that his younger brother was his best friend and always a little "wild and crazy."

He described when, as children, they tried to ride a pony without a bridle or saddle. The pony threw both of them off.

Mr. Davis said that his brother "wrecked every truck he drove" and that he was a "cowboy," who danced and who sang "louder than the radio."

Even when he was working, his brother was "having fun," Mr. Davis said.

In addition to his brother, who lives in Emmitsburg, Sergeant Davis is survived by his wife, Roberta Davis of Alaska; his parents, Jim and Josephine Davis of Lisbon; two sisters, Theresa Hadley of Hagerstown and Helen Blair of Virginia Beach, Va.; and three stepchildren.

melissa.harris@baltsun.com

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