Thursday, April 22, 2004

Soldier's family grieves, prays

By Liz Oakes
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WAYNESVILLE - Jean L. Hartman plans to celebrate the life of her nephew killed in Iraq when he's laid to rest here next week. She also has a message for the family of Iraqi hostage Pfc. Keith Matthew Maupin.

"Remain hopeful and know that he's in the Lord's hands - and know that a lot of people are praying for him," the principal of Waynesville Elementary said Wednesday.

Sgt. Jonathan N. Hartman, 27, of Orange Park, Fla., was killed Saturday when his convoy was ambushed near Diwaniyah in southern Iraq.

Maupin, an Army reservist from Union Township in Clermont County, has been held captive by Iraqi insurgents for nearly two weeks.

Jean Hartman, 53, said her nephew's death has renewed her commitment to pray for U.S. soldiers in Iraq and their families.

"We don't understand all the reasons why. But that's what I pray for (the Maupins)," she said. "That they don't let their thoughts just consume them, and they keep their chins up.''

The school principal may talk about Jonathan's death to her 600 students today, the day of the week she normally reads to them.

In November, she read one of his e-mails from Baghdad at a Veterans Day assembly.

"Of every 100 men, 10 shouldn't even be there, 80 are nothing but targets, nine are real fighters," the e-mail read in part. "Ah, but one, one of them is a Warrior ... he will bring the others back."

It was a quote from Hericletus in 500 B.C., the way Jonathan ended every e-mail, she said.

Jonathan Hartman was a Portsmouth, Va., native, but returned frequently as a boy to Waynesville.

A grandmother and six of his mother's seven brothers and sisters still live around Waynesville, Jean Hartman said.

The family plans to hold a service for Jonathan next week, and bury him in Miami Cemetery near Waynesville.

The Hartmans have set up a memorial fund to benefit Waynesville Elementary. Donations can be sent to: Sgt. Jonathan Hartman Memorial Fund, Take Stock in Children, Suite 1238, 50 N. Laura St., Jacksonville, FL 32202.

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