The brother was ten years older than his baby sister. He adored her, as did she him. While far apart in age and size, they were close at heart.
This brother said he would chase away her first boyfriend. She was always focused on life and her education, even in elementary and middle school. Soon to be 17 and finishing her junior year in high school, she has enough credits to skip the 12th grade and graduate. Instead, she will remain for her senior year and joint enroll to get a year of college credits out of the way in her drive to become a medical doctor.
This sister has not had an easy three plus years and it has taken all the will she could summon to stay focused and on track to graduate with honors and as high in her class ranking as she can. Not an easy task given the competition. But in her struggles of the last three years, especially the last eighteen months battling Lyme Disease, she met someone who became a very close friend. She and this young man understood each other's struggles, for he has his own and it is remarkable what he accomplishes when others would have faded and folded. This sister and her "friend" are, pound for pound, two of the toughest people and certainly the most determined that I have ever known. They each had reason to give up or to just get by. Both chose otherwise and have striven to be exceptional academic students with plans to go far in life. Both have been chosen as a Governor's Honors Student, placing them in the top 1/4 of 1% of students in the State of Georgia.
Tonight, the sister and her "friend" watched a movie at our home together. A gentleman with manners not often seen this day and time in teenagers, he was pleasant to talk with, being gentle and soft spoken. No doubt the older brother would have given this young man a good looking over, maybe even a stern eye. But I don't think he would have chased him away. In fact, I know his promise to do so would have melted away and he would have welcomed the young man in to stay awhile. He would have talked to him and they would have liked each other. And the younger sister would have liked that, even though she would probably be shooing her older brother away, for this was her date, not "their date."
And then, tomorrow, April 19, she would have hung on the older brother in celebration of his 27th birthday.
It is a Happy Day that was the Birthday of Mike Stokely. It is hard to "celebrate" with him not here for he is dearly missed. But, it is a special day in our home none the less and he is Lovingly Remembered with Honor.
DUTY HONOR COUNTRY
proud dad SGT Mike Stokely
KIA 16 AUG 05 near Yusufiyah Iraq
E 108 CAV 48th BCT GAARNG