Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Second Soldier Portrait, Marine Lance Corporal Steven P. Stevens II

Another fallen soldier, gone too early. These portraits make me sad but I know they will provide comfort to the families and will e treasured more than most paintings I do. Stevens, age, 23, of Tallahassee, Fla.; was assigned to 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.;  he died June 22, 2012 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. The 23-year-old U.S. Marine had yet to meet his infant son born after his deployment to Afghanistan when he died Friday.

We will present this portrait, along with the one of Joseph Lilley, at the annual Blue Star/Gold Star program Oct. 7, 2012 at the VFW in Wauseon.

Private First Class Steven Stevens grew up in Detroit and went to Afghanistan on March 21—just days before his son was born March 29, family members said. He is survived by his wife, Monique, of Florida and his parents, Steve and Lois Stevens, of Detroit.

“I’m sorry that he never got a chance to see his son,” said his grandmother Dorothy Atkins, 85. “I wish he could have had that blessing." The officers who told Stevens’ family about his death said the preliminary report showed he was hit with shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade, said Dwight Atkins, Steven’s uncle. “He's going to be sadly missed,” Atkins said. “But like my mother used to tell me, his work on Earth was done, and God called him home.”

Stevens grew up in northwest Detroit, attended Detroit Technology High School and went to Florida A & M on a swimming scholarship, his uncle said. As a baby, Stevens had asthma, so the doctor suggested finding a sport that would help him breathe, relatives recalled. Stevens’ mother put him in the swimming pool and he had been a swimmer since.“He took to the water like a fish,” his uncle said. After two years of college, he joined the Marines to serve his country. Family members say the thought of traveling the world and studying abroad was enticing to him.

“He quit college in order to join,” his grandmother said. “I guess he had the calling because he just went and joined.” Stevens was good in art, wanted to be an architect, loved to laugh and was a jokester who was good at imitations, his family recalled.

“People who know him know he was a very funny guy,” Dwight Atkins said.

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