By Marsha M. Brown
Last week I was contacted through GIG LINE by Wendy Boone the sister of a veteran who had passed away. Wendy described her brother, Kenneth Edward Koci (also known by many as “KK”) and a very special event to be held in his honor on Sunday, August 3, 2014 at 12:00 Noon in Coinjock that she wanted to invite everyone to.
Wendy said that members of The Cpl. George D. Matthews Post 288 American Legion, Coinjock, N.C. located: 174 Worth Guard Rd., Coinjock, N.C. 27923 (where Ken or “KK” was a member for 20 years), would host a “long anticipated Memorial Service” for him. She added that Ken’s family would be meeting at the Food Lion in Grandy at 11:00 AM, then they will be “escorted by the American Legion Riders and Patriot Guard Riders” to the Coinjock Post where she hopes to see everyone who knew Ken to experience this special tribute to her brother.
From what I learned from Wendy through phone and email, her brother Ken was very proud to have served our country. Just out of high school, Ken joined the United States Marine Corps where she said he served with pride maintaining that pride “throughout his life”. She told me emphatically what a devoted veteran Ken was and her endearing words captured what her brother meant to her. Wendy described how much she loved him and the memories she had of them riding bikes and fishing together as kids and the happiness those fond memories brought her. Wendy shared that when Ken went to Vietnam, she was “scared to death” but he still “kept going back” doing “three tours” and that no matter what…there was “no stopping him”.
She said he had made it back home and had children and grandchildren but that he suffered as a result of his tours and exposure to Agent Orange. Wendy said her brother experienced “giant blisters” on his arms making him sensitive to the sun and how his livelihood as a carpenter/builder was gravely affected as a result. She described his battle with colon cancer (CA) and his disappointments over delayed, changed and postponed medical V.A. appointments as well as the family’s frustrations when they found that Ken’s CA had spread into his liver, especially when she said he was asked why he had waited so long to be seen. Wendy said eventually caring doctors in Richmond, VA treated Ken and she recalled the heartbreak when the doctors delivered the news to her brother that there was nothing they could do “other than keep him comfortable” having already been through so much.
Wendy is a sister who greatly misses her big brother and someone who has looked forward to his special honor as a devoted Marine who had served his country. Her words summarized Ken’s courage; his service in Vietnam, his health problems and ultimate passing. She also complimented the relationship Ken shared with fellow veterans and what he meant to his friends and vice versa at Post 288.
For all who knew Ken or “KK”; or those who are American Legion members anywhere; for those who are U. S. Marines, fellow Vietnam veterans, friends and family of Kenneth Edward “KK” Koci, his sister Wendy Boone invites you to join in the celebration of and tribute to his life on Sunday, August 3rd at 12:00 Noon in Coinjock at Post 288.
Ken “KK” Koci like all U. S. Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard veterans deserve praise, honor and remembrance not only during their life but always. Ken had a loving sister and family. If you can make it, join in for this special event and show his family that what Ken endured for all of us…did matter. We hope to see you there.
Until next time, be happy, be safe and be proud. God bless veterans everywhere for all that you’ve done and for all that you are. Please call my cell (252) 202-2058 if we can be of help. Call Rhonda Creef, Dare County Veteran Service Officer at (252) 475-5604 for an appointment on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Rhonda cares very much about helping you and/or referring you to appropriate sources of help. And as always…stay tuned.