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Gold Star Hero Registry for Cpl. Stephen M. McGowan
KIA Ramadi, Iraq 03-04-05
As a mother of a fallen soldier, my favorite words are "Tell me about your son." Stephen was a 6'1" red-haired Irish rugby player"”who also got down on one knee to give Beanie Babies to Iraqi children. Here in Delaware, he became known as "The Beanie Baby Soldier." For Christmas, he requested small toys he could carry on missions. My students inundated me with donations!
Stephen chose to enter the Army after 9-11. He always had a deep love for his country, and he needed to be part of its response. He trained as a medic and was sent to Korea. When they decided to move troops from Korea for the first time since the war, they initially were not going to take all of the medics. Stephen volunteered to go because, as he told me, he felt he should go before soldiers who were married and had children. He was later selected to be the medic for the Scouts, a great honor. Since the days of the Old West, "Scouts Out!" calls the first soldier responders. The Scouts and Stephen went "out of the gate" numerous times daily. Despite his vigorous schedule, on his own time after missions, he helped train female soldiers for the Lioness Program. He told me, "Mom, I just want them to get home safe."
Stephen was offered a promotion. His first question was "Can I stay with the Scouts?" The answer was "No." Stephen refused the promotion.
Only mothers will truly be able to appreciate that my son, even in high school, would cross a room and give me a kiss. We were very close. Driving home from my sister's house where family had gathered to wish him well before leaving for Iraq, Stephen silently reached over and took my hand. He knew how hard it was going to be for me to say good-bye. His was a loving heart.
He was a strong man"”mentally, physically, spiritually. I thank God, that if only one woman could be his mother, God gave Stephen to me.
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."