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Local soldier dies in Texas

July 02, 2006|by TARA REILLY

EL PASO, TEXAS - As Mary Anne Sullivan-Scott left Texas to return to West Virginia last week, a U.S. Army colonel placed a gold coin in her hand.

"Never quit" was inscribed on the coin.

It was one of her son's favorite quotes.

The words, while simple, summed up the positive attitude of her son, Joshua L. "Doc" Kidwell, who died last week, she said.

Kidwell, 21, an Army specialist, died June 24 at the Thomason Trauma Center in El Paso.

Kidwell sustained head injuries June 23 when he jumped out of a moving truck during an argument with his wife, El Paso police and military officials said in a story that was published June 27 in The El Paso Times.

Police special traffic investigators said they believe Kidwell jumped out of a black 2005 Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck driven by his wife, Christyn Kidwell, on June 23 at 3:33 a.m. in the 10700 block of Pebble Hills Boulevard.

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The truck was going about 29 mph, according to The El Paso Times.

Kidwell died June 24, but was kept on life support for organ donation purposes until June 25, according to The El Paso Times.

The El Paso Police Department could not be reached for comment Saturday.

Sullivan-Scott, of Martinsburg, W.Va., described her son as a hard worker known for his smile and compassion.

"I'm just so broken up, and I feel so sorry for my daughter, his father and stepfather," said Kidwell's grandmother, Ruby V. Sullivan.

In addition to his mother and grandmother, Kidwell is survived by his father, Jerry A. Kidwell of Hedgesville; stepfather, Charles Scott of Martinsburg; sister, Sarah A. Kidwell of Martinsburg; uncle David W. Sullivan; and other aunts, uncles and cousins.

Kidwell, inspired by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, joined the Army as a senior at Hedgesville High School in 2003, his mother said.

He left for the Army two weeks after he graduated, spent two years in South Korea and was stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso.

Kidwell got the nickname "Doc" after being a terror as a toddler during trips to the doctor, Sullivan-Scott said. The doctor suggested she buy him a toy medical kit to help him become accustomed to the visits. The suggestion paid off, and her boy calmed during office visits, she said.

Sullivan-Scott said Kidwell was active in church, and developed a love for boxing.

She recalled her son, when he was 15, asking her if he could learn the sport at The Squared Circle in Inwood, W.Va. Kidwell went on to become a skilled boxer, winning matches in the Army, she said.

"He just took off with boxing," said Sullivan-Scott, who added that watching her son in the ring was a little difficult.

"It's not fun to watch that as a mother," she said.

The Rev. James Schuelke, pastor of Inwood Assembly of God, joked Kidwell would go to church once in a while with two black eyes, but he didn't seem to mind.

"He was having a blast," Schuelke said.

Schuelke said Kidwell had a deep enthusiasm for his faith.

"He loved clapping his hands," he said. "He loved getting into it. As a young person, he really enjoyed it."

Kidwell also went on a mission trip to El Salvador with his church, where he helped rebuild churches that had been damaged in earthquakes, Schuelke said. He stood out as a committed volunteer, keeping busy with whatever task he was asked to do.

"The moment we got there to the moment he left, he was a hard worker," Schuelke said.

The same commitment held true in school, said Don Dellinger, Kidwell's principal at Hedgesville High School.

"Josh was a great kid," Dellinger said. "He was a good student. He was a hard worker in the classroom and out of the classroom."

Dellinger said Kidwell was well-liked by his teachers and fellow classmates, and used to stop by the school while on break from the Army.

"It was an honor to have him as a son," Sullivan-Scott said.

Remembering his smile, she said, keeps her going.

"I just know he's up there smiling down on me," she said.

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