City officials, friends react to marine's death

By: Howell Dennis
IOTA – Marine Corporal Matthew Richard, 21 of Iota, was killed in Afghanistan doing what he had been dreaming of since he was a small child - protecting our country. Richard, the son of Jeff and Alicia Richard, was a 2008 graduate of Iota High School and was serving his second tour.

“Ever since he was a child he wanted to be a soldier,” said Alicia Richard. “When he was in second grade he wrote a paper called ‘I want to be a soldier.’ In fact, many of the papers he wrote and activities he was involved in during high school were military related.”

“He always told us, he begged us in fact to let him sign up for the Marines early...when he was 17,” she continued. “And he always insisted on the Marines.”

One week prior to his 18th birthday, Matthew’s parents granted him his wish and told him he could enlist early.

At approximately 6 a.m. Thursday, the Richards got a visit that no soldier’s parent ever wants to get when three Marines in full dress uniform knocked on their door with the news of their son.

When spoken to Thursday morning, Mrs. Richard seemed remarkably composed which may be due a fact that she seemed to take consolation in.

“He did die a Marine,” she said. “That was always his dream and he went after it with everything he had.”

Iota Mayor Cindy McDaniel was among those mourning Cpl. Richard’s death.

“Our community today is saddened by the loss of a local hero,” said McDaniel. “Matthew Richard lost his life fighting for our freedom. The community of Iota extends our deepest sympathies and support to his family and friends who mourn his loss.”

“Since a child this fine young man had always wanted to serve his country,” she continued. “We are all very proud of the courageous job he did and grateful for the ultimate sacrifice he made.”

“There were five or six of us that played on the line and we were all real close,” said Easton LaCombe who played football with Richard at Iota High. “He was a friend and a brother. Now he’s a hero.”

Richard was killed by an improvised explosive device at 10:17 a.m. Thursday (Afghanistan time.)

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