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Thanks for community support of 'Doc'

July 22, 2006

To the editor:

On June 24, just two months after his 21st birthday, our son, Joshua L. "Doc" Kidwell, was taken home to be with our Lord. Although the angels came for him much sooner than we had planned, we find comfort in knowing that he "passed the test" at a very early age, and now awaits for the rest of us who believe.

I am writing this letter in hopes of reaching the many people in our community who have extended their condolences to our family during a most difficult time. Your outpouring of kindness is truly appreciated. There are no words from Webster, nor any cards at Hallmark, that can express our gratitude for the multitudes of people who have come forth to offer comfort and support throughout this tragic period.

I still am in awe of the number of people who came to pay their respects at the viewing and the memorial service for such a young man of a mere 21 years, especially since he had left this area three years ago, after his high school graduation, to serve his country in the U.S. Army.

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For those of you who want answers, today (July 13) we were informed by the Army CID (Criminal Investigation Division) that the investigation of our son's death is still ongoing jointly with the El Paso Police Department, and is still considered an "undetermined death."

Facts from the case include the toxicology reports indicating "no presence of alcohol or illicit drugs in his system," which does not surprise those of us who knew him well.

The police ruled out suicide, which once again does not surprise those of us who knew him - for his opinion of suicide was "a coward's way out."

My hope is that the investigators will do their jobs, put the pieces to this puzzle together, and be able to provide answers to our questions. Nonetheless, let us not belabor the nature of his death, but rather dignify the positive impact Doc had on our lives. His smile alone could brighten the darkest of rooms during the bleakest of times.

We must try to brave the bitter grief and allow our broken hearts to heal. Doc has gone to be with his Lord, and we shall find solace in that. Once again, I want to thank all the members of our community who have come forth offering their sympathy and comfort to us during this time of sorrow. (I will not even attempt to begin listing names, but you know who you are, and we do appreciate you.)

During an era in which this area has experienced so much growth, we often feel that our Eastern Panhandle has become nothing more than an extension of the D.C. Metropolitan area, bringing with it the cold, uncaring personalities that we associate with "the city." It is so touching and reassuring to know that the hearts of our community members are still very much alive, warm, and caring.

May we all find comfort in knowing that Doc is with the angels now, away from the troubles and pains of this earth. As his sister stated, "Doc touched and influenced more lives in his short 21 years than most are able to in a lifetime." His work here is done, and as we all struggle to understand God's ways, just close your eyes and envision his unforgettable smile - a smile that purely indicated his peace, trust and love for his Lord. Let us all focus on the happiness he brought to our lives and be grateful for the time we did have with him.

He was a blessing to us all. Joshua L. "Doc" Kidwell was truly a gift from God, lent to me for a very short time, and it is a privilege to call him my son.

MaryAnne Sullivan-Scott
Martinsburg, W.Va.

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