Family talks about death of Thomas County Airman - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Family talks about death of Thomas County Airman

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February 6, 2007

Thomas County--  Michael McDowell was on I-20 near Kilgore, Texas when he lost control of his truck, crossed over the median, and struck an oncoming car.  McDowell and the other driver were both killed.  Authorities say McDowell probably lost control due to the wet road. 

While his family grieves his loss, they want other to remember the kind of man Michael was.

Like it would be for any parents, it was a difficult time when Michael McDowell told his parents he was joining the military.  "He just came up to me one day just out of the blue and says Dad I want to join the Air force and I was, you know I was concerned," said his father Dewayne McDowell.

His mom, Carlene Williams added "we'll I was proud. Scared, being the mom. And knowing what's going on in the world right now, with the war. It pretty much scared me."

But McDowell was set on his goal, and convinced his parents he was set on it.   "From the get-go that boy was a leader," said Williams.

Even a shoulder injury that sometimes caused him problems , didn't stop him.  "That's what he wanted to do and he had every excuse to get out but he stayed, and like I said he was dedicated to the military," said his father.

McDowell had just finished a training course to work on F-15 jets at a base in Texas. He was headed home for a short time with his family, before heading to his next station at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, when he wrecked.

"I was really looking forward to him coming home this time too.  He's just going to be missed." But not forgotten.

Everyone Michael McDowell knew will remember him best for something.  "Hunting, fishing, he was very active. He just couldn't sit still, he loved the horses," said Dewayne McDowell.  Kelly McDowell added that her brother was "hilarious. He was so funny. He'd do anything for a laugh."

An essay he wrote in high school sums up in his own words, how his family will always see him:

"Heroes have to be strong and flexible. Not all heroes are perfect, most of them have their faults. Its good to have a hero with some faults because it can show the people who see them as role models how to deal with faults."

Michael McDowell's funeral is Friday at 2:00 p.m. at Gatlin Creek Baptist Church in Thomasville.

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