Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Outstanding (04/21/11)
TITLE: Semper Fi
By Lisa Johnson
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Timothy Ryan Creager was born on March 24,1983. Weeks premature, he only weighed two pounds and thirteen ounces at birth. He spent months in NICU, just trying to catch up to where he should have been in the first place. He was so tiny, his life hung precariously in the balance. Every day was a struggle, but Tim was a fighter.
His dad left when he was small. He was raised by his mom, with the help of her parents. It would have been easy for Tim to become a statistic. Bad start. Broken home. But... Tim was a fighter.
Tim was an accomplished athlete. He earned a 1st Degree Black belt in Tae Kwon Do when he was twelve. He enjoyed rappelling, water skiing, horseback riding, and bull riding. He lettered in La Crosse in his sophomore year in college.
Tim was a born leader. He started scouts as a Tiger Cub. By the time he was a Boy Scout, he was already helping with the younger kids. When he was just thirteen, he won his Eagle Scout, with Silver and Bronze Palms. He assumed leadership positions at school, in his youth group at church, and in his community.
He was civic minded. He volunteered at the local VA hospital. He was a lifeguard at the YMCA. He was active in the American Indian Association, as well as the Memphis Belle Memorial Squadron Civil Air Patrol.
He excelled academically. He graduated from High School with the highest honors. He was a member of the Jr. and Sr. National Honor Societies. He went to Australia as part of the Student to Student Ambassador Program. While there, he was chosen, by the adult advisers, as an outstanding ambassador. He won a full-tuition United States Marine Corps Scholarship to The Citadel.
He was a young man of tremendous faith. Active in his youth group, he always led by example, participating in summer camps, and in World Changers. While he was at The Citadel, you could find Tim at the Baptist Outreach, or Campus Crusade for Christ.
But... Tim was a fighter. In 2002, during his sophomore year at The Citadel, Tim felt God was calling him to fight for a cause bigger than himself. Tim said he was being called to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps “to protect others, and to share his faith with his fellow Marines.”
While he was in basic training, he started a Bible study group. He was deployed to Iraq on February 26, 2004 with his company. He volunteered as a lay minister to his unit, and spent what precious, little spare time he had helping to build a Praise Chapel on the base.
From April 10 to June 24, 2004, Tim's actions led to the capture of nine combatants, the discovery of an improvised explosive device lab, several large weapons and munitions stashes, and five enemy kills. He earned the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device for valor, a rare honor given only to those who demonstrate exceptional leadership in combat situations.
On July 1, 2004, Tim's vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device, and he was trapped inside. At the age of twenty-one, Tim gave his life for the freedom of others. He was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in action in Iraq, resulting in his death.
His faith made such an impact on the lives of his fellow Marines, that they finished the chapel and named it the Tim Creager Praise Chapel in his memory.
Although grief-stricken, at his funeral, his mother told the gathering that Tim died doing what he believed God had called him to do.
On July 1, 2004, Timothy Ryan Creager stood before his Savior and heard these words...
“Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Semper Fi, Tim.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
LCpl Timothy Ryan Creager
Assigned to the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion,
2nd Marine Division,
II Marine Expeditionary Force,
Camp Le Jeune, N.C.
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