A Soldier Comes Home
Receiving phone calls of condolences from friends and family, Robert Varga’s parents Frank and Ceil Varga, and his sister Carey Noland, right, comfort one another in front of their home in Monroe City. Robert Varga died in Iraq of injuries suffered in a non-combat-related incident, military officials said Monday.
Standing next to artwork created by Army Spc. Robert Varga while he was in basic training, brothers-in-law Tim Reimann, left, and David Poelker remember their friend, Robert Varga, as they recount for reporters how the three enlisted in the Army together.
“Guys over there (in Iraq) still need our support. Some people just don’t understand the pain and suffering (soldiers) and their families go through,” Reimann said.
Standing near the terminal at the tiny airport in Mexico, Mo., waiting for the charter jet delivering the casket of Spc. Robert Daniel Varga to arrive, Robert’s father Frank, provides his son’s widow, Ellie, a measure of comfort.
Holding one another in a moment of grief as the jet airplane carrying Spec. Robert Daniel Varga’s body lands and taxis to a stop less than a hundred feet away are Robert’s nephew Gage Poelker, 19 months, aunt Angela Peters, sister Pamela Poelker, brother-in-law David Poelker, father Frank Varga, aunt Wilma Varga, sister Carey Noland and widow Ellie Varga.
From left, Army Spec. Robert Daniel Varga’s sister, Carey Noland, his father Frank Varga, and his wife, Ellie, look on as an Army burial detail from Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo., ceremoniously carries Varga’s flag draped casket from an airplane Friday, July 20, 2007 at the Mexico, Mo., airport. Varga, a member of the 759th Military Police Battalion, 984th Military Police Company, died Sunday from injuries received during a noncombat-related incident in Baghdad.
Flanked by members of the Patriot Guard an Army Honor Guard from Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo., ceremoniously carries Varga’s U.S. flag draped casket across the tarmac Friday, July 20, 2007 at the Mexico, Mo., airport. Varga, a member of the 759th Military Police Battalion, 984th Military Police Company, died Sunday from injuries received during a noncombat-related incident in Baghdad.
Vernon Bastian, ride captain of the Northeast Missouri Patriot Guard, rallies the 30 riders for a briefing in the parking lot of the Mexico, Mo., airport as they prepare to escort the Varga family motorcade to Monroe City, Mo., Friday, July 20, 2007. The Patriot Guard is made up of motorcycle riders from across the country whose mission is “standing for those who stood for us.” The group escorts and provides a buffer for grieving families. Bastian reminds the men and women in the group, “remember this is not a parade, we must be mindful of maintaining a respectful manner at all times – we’re here to escort this boy back to his home.” “The Patriot Guard and Army Honor Guard are so totally amazing and beautiful – I need to find a new word to describe everything I feel in my heart” – Ceil Varga (Robert Varga’s mother)
Residents of Paris, Mo., stand along Main Street to show support for the Varga family and respect for their son, Army Spec. Robert Daniel Varga. All along the procession route from Mexico to Paris and to Monroe City, people gathered by the hundreds displaying U.S. flags and offering salutes. Filled with gratitude, Frank and Ceil Varga said their thoughts go out to all of the families of fallen soldiers who may not have received the kind of overwhelming support they did from their tight-knit community.
The Day of the Funeral
From left, Army Spec. Robert Daniel Varga’s aunt, Cathy Schild embraces Varga’s sister Pamela Poelker, while the two attend an open casket viewing service for family members before the funeral service for Robert Varga began Monday, July 23, 2007 at the Holy Rosary Church in Monroe City. Standing in honor of Army Spec. Robert Daniel Varga and his family is military casualty escort Army SFC. James Crone with the 759th Military Police Battalion, Ft. Carson, Colo.