Services held for 48th Brigade soldier - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Services held for 48th Brigade soldier

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August 13, 2005

Coffee County-- One of the latest members of the 48th Brigade to be killed in Iraq was laid to rest Saturday. Hundreds of family and friends turned out to mourn the loss of 21-year-old Mathew Gibbs of Ambrose who was killed by a suicide car bomber in Iraq.

Beneath a flag of red, white, and blue lies a fallen soldier. "He was really one of my favorite grandchildren," says Martha Meeks. To Georgia's National Guard, he was Specialist Mathew Gibbs but to his grandmother Martha Meeks, he was much more than a soldier.

"Such a lively fellow, just full of life," says Meeks.

To his brother Derrick Gibbs, he was a best friend. "My only brother," says Gibbs, "fishing, hunting and breaking stuff and just causing trouble. We were a rowdy bunch." Family and friends are now gathering to mourn the soldier who lost his life fighting the war in Iraq.

"I cried. I cried because it's hard to think of Mathew as any other way than enthusiastic and full of life," says former teacher Susan McConnell. It's a life that left impressions. His old teachers are using this time to reminisce and trade stories about the former student who's now teaching them lessons. "I'm really proud of Mathew and what he's done for our country and I'm really sad for his family," says Gibbs' 8th grade teacher Catherine Burnam.

With the sound of 21 gun shots, the military is saluting a special soldier and giving family members a little bit of closure. "It gets easier everyday and I think we're going to get through it but we loved him and we're going to miss him a lot," says Gibbs. His life was full of sacrifices and for that they're proud.

"I think we've been blessed by his life and the way he lived it and I guess even by the way he died," says Meeks. On Saturday, a man who was a grandson, brother, father and son was laid to rest. "It was a hard day but were just so proud of what he did," says Meeks.

It was a funeral fit for a soldier.

The family says they're thankful for everyone in the community who's shown support in their time of need with flags and just general support. Gibbs leaves behind a wife, two daughters and host of family and friends.

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