From the Glasgow Daily Times, 1 April 2005
A Metcalfe County Kentucky National Guardsman has been killed and two others critically injured in a clash with militants on Wednesday.
Spec. Eric Toth, 21, a 2001 graduate of Metcalfe County High School, was killed when the convoy he was leading struck a land mine while returning from an escort patrol along the main supply route in Baghdad.
Brenda Paronto of Metcalfe County said she was notified by National Guard officials Wednesday evening that her son had been killed, the Associated Press reported in a story filed Thursday afternoon.
She said her son had been married for a little over two years. Speaking from her home by telephone, Paronto said she did not want to be interviewed.
Toth's brother-in-law, Sgt. Ricky Brooks, a Kentucky State Police Trooper on active military duty, along with Spec. Christopher Brunelle, of Campbellsville, were injured in the explosion.
All three soldiers were assigned to Alpha Bettery with the First Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery Unit based in Tompkinsville.
Another Kentucky Guard soldier, Jonathan Adam Hughes with the 623rd Campbellsville Unit, was buried in his hometown of Lebanon on Monday. He was killed on March 19 when his armored Humvee struck an Improvised Explosive Device (IED).
"This is a very difficult time for the Kentucky National Guard," said Deputy Adjutant General Norman Arflack. "We have lost two great patriots in the last two weeks," he continued, saying, "We will honor his sacrifice and that of those who have gone before him."
Brooks and Brunelle were medically evacuated to Germany and listed in stable condition, National Guard officials said.
Louise Firkins with the Tompkinsville Family Readiness Group has been in contact with both the Toth and Brooks families since they learned of the tragedy.
"They're not doing good, but under the circumstances they're doing about as well as can be expected," she said.
Firkins' son graduated with Toth and is currently serving with the 623rd in Iraq.
"It's just devastating," she said. "We just attended one funeral. "There's no preparing yourself for this."
She called Toth a "good soldier." While speaking on behalf of the Toth family, Firkins added, "They're proud of him. He died serving his country."
Brooks, a former Glasgow police officer, sustained second and third-degree burns to his face, head and hands, as well as a severe head injury which required treatment.
He is expected to be moved to a burn unit in San Antonio, Texas on Sunday, state police said. He has reportedly spoken by telephone to his wife, Mindy, and at least one other person.
A 2004 graduate of the Kentucky State Police Academy, Brooks, a Metcalfe County native from Center, was assigned to the Columbia Post prior to his military deployment.
"He's a great officer," said Interim Glasgow Police Chief, Capt. Gary Bewley. He described Brooks, who worked from March of 2002 to January of 2004 at the Glasgow Police Department, as an energetic person with an upbeat personality.
"He was kind of a clown," Bewley said, adding, news of Brooks injuries has hit the police department hard.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with them," he said, about the Brooks family which includes two small children ages 3 and 5-years-old.
Kentucky State Police Commissioner Mark Miller asked for prayer support for Brooks, who is just one of 27 KSP troopers on active military duty.
"The Kentucky State Police is a very close organization," said Miller in a released statement on Thursday.
"It affects all of us greatly when one of our own is injured in the line of duty. I ask everyone to keep Trooper Brooks and his family in their thoughts and pray for his full recovery."
An account has been opened at Edmonton State Bank for the families of Eric Toth and Ricky Brooks. Donations can be made at any of the bank branch locations.
Obituary from the Glasgow Daily Times, 7 April 2005
Name: SPC Eric Lee Toth
Residence: Edmonton KY
Died: Wednesday 30 Mar 2005 while in Iraq proudly serving his country, age 21
Born: 16 Apr 1983, Glasgow, KY
After five years of dating, he married Andrea Brooks on 15 Feb 2003. He was a member of the A Battery 1st Battalion 623rd Field Artillery Unit, Kentucky Army National Guard in Tompkinsville since Nov. 2003.
Employee of Federal Mogul in Glasgow.
Wife: Andrea Michelle Brooks Toth
Father and step-mother: Danny and Diane Toth
Mother and step-father: Brenda and Steve Paranto
Two sisters: Debbie Toth and Tasha Sturgeon
Foster sister: Samantha Carter
Two brothers: Tranvis and Dereck Sturgeon
Grandmother: Ruby Froedge
Step-grandmother: Cathy Paranto
Brothers and sisters-in-law: SGT Ricky and Mindy Brooks and David and Bridget Trayler
Three nieces: Addison Taylor and Jackline and Laura Carter
Four nephews: Nicholas and Ayden Traylor and Codie and Payton Brooks
Special friends: Soldiers of the 1st 623rd Field Artillery Battalion who are continuing to serve in Iraq
Preceded in death by:
Grandparents: Eulia Bragg, Frank and Dorie Toth and Fayette Paranto
Services: Saturday, 10 Apr 2005, 1 pm, Edmonton Worship Center in Edmonton
Burial in Sulphur Springs Cemetery
"A Tribute to Veterans" by Jerry Calow (©2003)
In Vietnam, Korea and World Wars Past Our Men Fought Bravely so Freedom Would Last Conditions Where Not Always Best They Could Be Fighting a Foe You Could Not Always See: From Mountain Highs to Valley Lows From Jungle Drops to Desert Patrols Our Sinewy Sons Were Sent Over Seas Far From Their Families And Far From Their Dreams They Never Wrote Letters Of Hardships Despair Only Of Love, Yearning That One Day Soon: They Would Come Home, They Would Resume And Carry On With The Rest of Their Lives The P.O.W.¹S Stood Steadfast Against the Indignities And Cruelties Of War They Could Not Have Lasted as Long as They Did If They Had Relinquished Their Hope That Some Day: They Would Come Home, They Would Resume And Carry On the Rest Of Their Lives Medics, Nurses, and Chaplains Alike Did What They Needed To Bring Back Life They Served Our Forces From Day Into Night Not Questioning If They Would Survive: They Mended Bones And Bodies Too, They Soothed the Spirits of Dying Souls And for Those M.I.A¹S, Who Were Left Behind We Echo This Message Across the Seas We Will search For as Long As It Takes You¹re Not Forgotten And Will Always Be: In Our Hearts, In Our Prayers, In Our Minds For All Time A Moment of Silence, a Moment of Summons Is Their Deliverance of Body And Soul To a Sacred Place That We All Know Deep In the Shrines of Our Soul: In Our Hearts, In Our Prayers In Our Minds For All Time INTERLUDE: GOLD STAR MOTHERS GRIEVE: ENDLESSLY, ENDLESSLY, ENDLESSLY....... These Immortalized Soldiers Whose Bravery Abounds They¹re Our Husbands, Fathers, and Sons They Enlisted For the Duty at Hand To Serve the Cause of Country and Land: They Had Honor, They Had Valor, They Found Glory That Change Them Forever Men Standing Tall and Proud They be A Country Behind Them in a Solemn Sea So Let the Flags of Freedom Fly Unfurled in Their Majesty High: In the Sun, In the Rain In the Winds Across This Land Years of Tears Has Brought Us Here Gathering Around to Hear This Sound So Let the Flags of Freedom Fly Unfurled in Their Majesty High: In the Sun, In the Rain, In the Winds Across This Land REPEAT: In the Sun, In the Rain, In the Winds For All Time