Published: Tuesday, May 9, 2006
Soldier from western Pa. dies in roadside blast
JAMESTOWN, Pa. (AP) A western Pennsylvania soldier was killed by a roadside blast in Iraq, his parents said.
The family of Sgt. David Veverka, 25, of Jamestown, said they were awakened by state police and an Army officer at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday.
"They just stood there. I said, 'Please tell me my baby is all right,'" said Carol Polley, Veverka's mother. That is when the Army officer got down on one knee and told her that her son had been killed.
Polley said she and Veverka's stepfather, Jeff Polley, were told that that her son died in a military hospital near Baghdad a few hours after the blast that targeted his convoy.
U.S. Defense Department officials said Monday they had no information to release about his death.
Veverka graduated from Jamestown High School in 1998, where he was a standout basketball player. His father and stepmother, Ronald and Judi Veverka, live in Sharon. The Polleys live in West Shenango Township in Crawford County.
Veverka joined the Army to help pay for college and joined the Maine National Guard while studying for his bachelor's degree in wildlife ecology at the University of Maine in Bangor, his family said. His National Guard unit was activated in January, and he went to Iraq in mid-March.
"He wasn't afraid; he was excited to go," Carol Polley said. "He said, 'Mom, I'm OK, everything's cool.'"
Ronald Veverka said he never thought about having to deal with his son's death.
"He told us before he left that this was his calling," Veverka said.
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