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'A Year to Pay Tribute to Heroes': Soldier Lake Remembered as a Man of Integrity

Feb. 5, 2007 — Sgt. First Class Floyd Everett Lake Sr. was laid to rest Monday with accolades from co-workers and friends and family.
They said he was respected, patient, dedicated, a man of integrity and a loving father, brother and friend. Those words were used repeatedly to describe Lake, who died in the Iraq War on Jan. 20.
Memorial services for Lake, 43, were held in the morning on St. Thomas and in the afternoon on St. Croix. Lake was born on St. Thomas but transferred to St. Croix in 1991 while serving in the V.I. National Guard. There he met and married his wife, Linda Denise, and had five children.
"I did not know what 2007 had in store for us," said Gov. John P. deJongh Jr. in his tribute to Lake. "It is a year to pay tribute to heroes."
Lake and 50-year-old Lt. Col. David C. Canegata of St. Croix were killed along with 10 others. They were traveling in a U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter north of Baghdad when the aircraft went down. Canegata's funeral was Feb. 1.
"We feel the pain of two families, two men of honor and distinction," deJongh said. The soldiers longed to come home, he said, and God decided "it was time to bring them home."
"The families need us now more than ever," deJongh said.
The Seventh Day Central Adventist Church in Grove Place was filled with family, friends and military personnel in a service that began at 2 p.m. A military band played a solemn hymn as soldiers carried the flag-draped casket into the church.
"There is a shadow of death in the valley, but there cannot be a shadow without a light, and that light is Jesus Christ," said Pastor Oriel Fleming.
During the ceremony, Lake was posthumously awarded with several medals. The Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Iraq Campaign Medal and the Distinguished Service Medal were presented to his wife by Adj. Gen. Eddy Charles, retired Lt. Gen. Samuel Ebberson and deJongh.
"The National Guard family is in shock," Charles said as he paid tribute to Lake, adding that the deaths have not discouraged the soldiers from performing their duty. "It is not a deterrent," he said. The National Guard soldiers are "anticipating serving their tour of duty."
Lake was an "exemplary" soldier who held himself to "high standards of performance," enjoyed weight training and playing dominoes, Charles said.
"We are citizen soldiers, true Minutemen protecting our shores to prevent the enemy from bringing the war to our shores," Charles said. "That is the reason they pay the ultimate sacrifice. Freedom is not free."
One of Lake's comrades traveled from Arlington, Va., to pay his respects. He said a memorial is set up at Arlington to honor the memory of the soldiers who lost their lives and recounted some of the condolence messages recorded in a book for that purpose.
Lake's youngest sister, Zelda, was emotional as she reminisced about the relationship they shared and the last time she saw her brother.
"I was mad and hurt, and then I looked at all the soldiers," she said. "It was like looking at my brother's spirit. I give you all the highest respect."
Retired Maj. Fernando Webster delivered the eulogy. He was Lake's supervisor when he transferred to St. Croix and the two became friends. Webster told of Lake's struggle to be accepted by his subordinates and to reorganize the warehouse to which he was assigned. Lake got respect, Webster said, by giving respect to everyone and exhibiting fairness, patience, self-improvement and strength: "He had fear for no one but respect for everyone."
Lake is survived by his wife and children: J'Nell, Floyd Jr., Andre, Keeshawn and Tamela. He was buried with full military honors in the veterans section of the Kingshill Cemetery.
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Feb. 5, 2007 -- Sgt. First Class Floyd Everett Lake Sr. was laid to rest Monday with accolades from co-workers and friends and family.
They said he was respected, patient, dedicated, a man of integrity and a loving father, brother and friend. Those words were used repeatedly to describe Lake, who died in the Iraq War on Jan. 20.
Memorial services for Lake, 43, were held in the morning on St. Thomas and in the afternoon on St. Croix. Lake was born on St. Thomas but transferred to St. Croix in 1991 while serving in the V.I. National Guard. There he met and married his wife, Linda Denise, and had five children.
"I did not know what 2007 had in store for us," said Gov. John P. deJongh Jr. in his tribute to Lake. "It is a year to pay tribute to heroes."
Lake and 50-year-old Lt. Col. David C. Canegata of St. Croix were killed along with 10 others. They were traveling in a U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter north of Baghdad when the aircraft went down. Canegata's funeral was Feb. 1.
"We feel the pain of two families, two men of honor and distinction," deJongh said. The soldiers longed to come home, he said, and God decided "it was time to bring them home."
"The families need us now more than ever," deJongh said.
The Seventh Day Central Adventist Church in Grove Place was filled with family, friends and military personnel in a service that began at 2 p.m. A military band played a solemn hymn as soldiers carried the flag-draped casket into the church.
"There is a shadow of death in the valley, but there cannot be a shadow without a light, and that light is Jesus Christ," said Pastor Oriel Fleming.
During the ceremony, Lake was posthumously awarded with several medals. The Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Iraq Campaign Medal and the Distinguished Service Medal were presented to his wife by Adj. Gen. Eddy Charles, retired Lt. Gen. Samuel Ebberson and deJongh.
"The National Guard family is in shock," Charles said as he paid tribute to Lake, adding that the deaths have not discouraged the soldiers from performing their duty. "It is not a deterrent," he said. The National Guard soldiers are "anticipating serving their tour of duty."
Lake was an "exemplary" soldier who held himself to "high standards of performance," enjoyed weight training and playing dominoes, Charles said.
"We are citizen soldiers, true Minutemen protecting our shores to prevent the enemy from bringing the war to our shores," Charles said. "That is the reason they pay the ultimate sacrifice. Freedom is not free."
One of Lake's comrades traveled from Arlington, Va., to pay his respects. He said a memorial is set up at Arlington to honor the memory of the soldiers who lost their lives and recounted some of the condolence messages recorded in a book for that purpose.
Lake's youngest sister, Zelda, was emotional as she reminisced about the relationship they shared and the last time she saw her brother.
"I was mad and hurt, and then I looked at all the soldiers," she said. "It was like looking at my brother's spirit. I give you all the highest respect."
Retired Maj. Fernando Webster delivered the eulogy. He was Lake's supervisor when he transferred to St. Croix and the two became friends. Webster told of Lake's struggle to be accepted by his subordinates and to reorganize the warehouse to which he was assigned. Lake got respect, Webster said, by giving respect to everyone and exhibiting fairness, patience, self-improvement and strength: "He had fear for no one but respect for everyone."
Lake is survived by his wife and children: J'Nell, Floyd Jr., Andre, Keeshawn and Tamela. He was buried with full military honors in the veterans section of the Kingshill Cemetery.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.