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Army Staff Sgt. Donald V. Stacy

Died June 28, 2011 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

23, of Avondale, Ariz.; assigned to 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died June 28 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

Avondale soldier honored for compassion, ambition
By Eugene Scott, The Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ)

Staff Sgt. Donald Stacy showed a strong work ethic at a very young age. That, combined with his compassion and generosity, led him to serve two tours of duty in Iraq and one in Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom.

Stacy died June 28 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, from wounds suffered during an insurgent attack.

The Avondale resident, who joined the Army in 2005, would have turned 24 on July 10. About 200 people gathered in the Agua Fria High School gymnasium Saturday for Stacy’s funeral. Guests shared memories while celebrating his many awards, which include a Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart.

As a high school student, Stacy was a member of the Avondale Youth Advisory Commission. The city of Avondale flew all flags at half-staff Saturday, and officials presented his family with a proclamation from the mayor to honor his service to the city and the United States.

Jacob Vela was one of Stacy’s closest friends. They met on a school bus and the two were pretty much inseparable from then on. When Stacy was committed to doing something, he didn’t waver. “There was no stopping him, no telling him no, he can’t,” said Vela, a Marine. “That only made him push harder.”

In addition to being ambitious, Stacy was always mindful of those around him, his stepfather Bernie Escobedo said.\

Stacy’s biological father died when Stacy was young. When a 5-year-old Stacy found out that Escobedo’s father also was dead, Stacy attempted to comfort his stepfather.

“We just sat there and cried and embraced,” Escobedo said. “Even as a kid, he was compassionate. We’re going to miss him very much.”

Denise Escobedo, Stacy’s mother, remembered her son as a mischievous kid who snuck a sip of beer while on a family cruise and a stylish boy who hated when she bought his clothes from Kmart.

She said that all she has now are memories of him. “I am able to cope, because I have a hope that I will see you again,” she said during the service. “You made a sacrifice and you paid the ultimate price (with your life).”

Vincent Gonzales, Stacy’s uncle, encouraged guests never to forget the sacrifice Stacy and others make, adding: “Whenever the Fourth of July comes around and you’re watching the fireworks, I want you to think of Donald and our boys fighting overseas.”

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