Steve Sutton's family speaks

LEE CO., GA (WALB) - For the first time, the family of Lance Corporal Steve Sutton speaks to us about the fallen Marine.

His wife arrived in South Georgia Friday from North Carolina. She says she is very grateful for all the support from all over the world.

These are two of the people that knew Steve Sutton best: his father and his wife. Dealing with Steve's loss is obviously very difficult for the family. His wife Toni says she still finds strength through him.
"He's helped me be strong," said Toni Sutton. "I'm in survival mode. But, like I said, I'm ready for the days of just laying in the bed where I can have my time. But, I am trying to get everything through and everything done the right way for him that he should have."
Steve's father Gene remembers the last phone call he got from his son. He was brave just like they trained him to be.
"He called me back right before he went out," Gene Sutton said. "He was going out on his last little mission. But, I didn't know. He didn't know that it would be his last mission. He didn't sound frightened." 
Steve was set to return from Afghanistan in July. His wife says it was something he was very much looking forward to.
"He was ready," said Toni Sutton. "He wanted to get home to me and his step-daughter Aubrey. Just ready to get home and have life and be able to live it. He wanted to go ride dirt roads and go hunting."
The couple had a motto: strong love. It is on a dog tag along with their names and anniversary. It accompanies his boot camp dog tag. She also always wears a bracelet bearing his name. 'big Steve's Lee County football jersey hangs in the home. His dad says he was a gentle giant.
"I told him, you ain't going to make it in the marines," said Gene Sutton. "I just spoiled him in reason, you know. I said I raised him, then when Toni got him, she raised him. Then marines got him and they raised him. They finished raising him."
The family says Steve is their hero and they are appreciative of South Georgia treating him like their hero too.
Sutton's body will arrive on Monday. The family is asking people to not go to the airport. They say they need that time to be private.
The public is invited to the visitation on Tuesday. The funeral and procession will be on Wednesday.
They'd like for citizens to line the procession route from Leesburg to Crown Hill Cemetery in Albany.
The funeral for Big Steve Sutton, who was killed in Afghanistan Saturday, will be Wednesday at 2 O-clock at the First Baptist Church of Leesburg.
The public is invited for the visitation, Tuesday from 5 to 8, at Kimbrell Stern Funeral on Dawson Road.
Only family and close friends are invited to Wednesday's funeral, but the family asks the community to line the procession route from the southern city limits of Leesburg along Highway 19 South to Third Avenue in Albany, then right on 3rd to Dawson Road and then to Crown Hill Cemetery. 

Copyright 2012 WALB.  All rights reserved.