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thedrifter
01-15-09, 12:14 PM
Littlestown teen was anxious to be a Marine
By JAMIE McCUNE
Evening Sun Reporter
Posted: 01/15/2009 08:45:33 AM EST

From the Marine flag hanging on his bedroom wall to the Semper Fi sticker on his car window, Nicholas T. Byron, 17, of Littlestown, had made it clear he planned to enter the United States Marines and he was excited about it.

"He just felt like that was it for him. He just knew that he wanted to be a Marine," said Brenda Cook, Byron's mother, about his meeting with a recruiter about a year ago.

Byron died early Sunday morning when he lost control of his sport-utility vehicle on an icy road and it hit a telephone pole near Union Mills, Md., Maryland State Police said. Byron had been on his way home to Littlestown, family members said.

Byron enrolled in a delayed enlistment program and planned to go to boot camp in Parris Island, S.C., in July after graduating from Winters Mill High School in Westminster, Md., Cook said.

"He was a good kid," said Byron's recruiter, Staff Sgt. Jeremy Waugh. "He was all about service to his country and bettering his life."

Born in Hanover, Byron moved with his mother from Littlestown to Westminster about eight years ago. They had just moved back to town this past summer, but Byron planned to finish out his senior year at the school he had been attending, Cook said.

Byron had played football since the age of 10, but did not play his senior year because of a knee injury the previous year. He did not want to risk another injury and have to put off his military career, Cook said.

Although most others his age do not know what they want to do, Byron's dream was to join the Marines. He wanted to travel and enjoyed the physical work of it.

"He just had this need to help people," Cook said.

Byron regularly stopped by his grandmother's home to mow the lawn and do other household chores.

"He was every grandmother's dream of what a grandson should be like," said Dolores Byron, 75, of Littlestown. "He just wrapped his arms around you and you knew you were getting a real, sincere hug."

Nicholas Byron was also very close with his three younger sisters, Brittany, 15, Kara, 7, and Courtney, 6. He would tease them, but was also very protective. He told them any boys they dated would have to pass his test, Dolores Byron said.

At Byron's memorial service today at 10 a.m. at Sacred Heart Basilica in Edgegrove, Byron's mother will be presented with an American flag from the recruitment office.

"He wasn't a Marine yet, but he was to some of us," Waugh said.

Contact Jamie McCune at jmccune@eveningsun.com.


Ellie