|Brom Beaver County Times 09/26/06:
Beaver Falls soldier receives final salute
Bob Bauder, Times Staff
BEAVER FALLS - Morado Dwellings residents knew something was wrong when they saw the two "uniforms" walking through their neighborhood, asking questions about the family of Allan Bevington.
"They look like the people who knock on people's doors and give them bad news," Ed Steiner remembered telling a friend.
Bevington's friends held their breath as they waited. Maybe he was only wounded, they prayed. The news was the worst kind.
Sgt. Allan R. Bevington, 22, was killed Thursday while serving with the U.S. Army in Ar Ramadi, Iraq. Bevington, a combat engineer, died when one of the dreaded Iraqi booby traps known as improvised explosive devices blew up, an Army official said. To date, 977 soldiers serving in Iraq have been killed by IEDs, according to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count Internet site, which tracks such statistics based on official military reports.
Bevington had been assigned to the 40th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, of the 1st Armored Division in Baumholder, Germany. He is the fifth Beaver County resident to die while serving in Iraq.
Details of his death were sketchy.
Maj. Nathan Banks, an Army spokesman, said Bevington had one of the most dangerous jobs in Iraq. His duties included seeking out and disarming IEDs. He was killed while cordoning off an area, Banks said. He could offer no further details.
However, military officials told Bevington's family that he was killed when a roadside bomb exploded as he was riding in a vehicle.
"He died a hero," said his mother, Beverly Bevington of Rochester. "He died doing what he thought was right. There's a lot of good going on over there."
He also is survived by two brothers, Chuck and Bob Bevington, his father, Frank Law, and three half brothers, Frank Jr., Donald and Danny Law.
Chuck Bevington of Ellwood City said his brother loved hunting, fishing and picking on brother Bob, "one of our favorite sports." He also loved girls, shopping for clothes and fussing over his hair, said Bob Bevington of Rochester.
"I want to go fishing sooooooooo bad," he wrote two weeks ago in an e-mail to Bob.
Bevington, a 2002 graduate of Beaver Falls High School, joined the Army right after graduation, following in the footsteps of Chuck, who served as an Army combat engineer from 1986 to 1993.
Recently promoted to sergeant, Allan Bevington was serving his second tour in Iraq and had survived at least two other IED explosions, according to his family. On Christmas Day 2003 - his 20th birthday - Bevington was manning a turret gun in a Humvee when a bomb went off. Thrown through the turret, he was the only survivor, Chuck Bevington said.
"My mother talked to his lieutenant," he said. "(Allan) was very well respected. There was never a job that he didn't run out to do instead of somebody else. They're having a service for him (today) in Iraq."
Bevington's body is in Dover, Del., the arrival point for all Iraq fatalities, and his family is not sure when services will be held here. They expect to learn more details about his death when his body and official Army records arrive.
Bevington grew up next door to the Morado housing complex in Beaver Falls. His friends lived there. He played there. He visited every time he came home on leave.
His gang of friends - Corey Moorhouse, Brandon McKelvey, Ashley McKelvey, Chris Beck and Steiner - called themselves the Original Morado Boys, despite the girl in the group. Bevington's friends called him Biff.
The last address the military had for Beverly Bevington was the house near Morado. That's why the two soldiers were there.
On Monday, Morado turned out to remember and honor Bevington - their boy - who died serving his country. They had a bedsheet airbrushed by Fatty's Tattoo Piercing and Airbrush in Beaver Falls to read in part: "In memory of Sgt. Allan R. Bevington. Our hero of Iraq." About 25 people, including his mother, gathered to remember him.
"He was the light of our life," Ashley McKelvey said. "He was the only one who got out of here."
Bob Bauder can be reached online at firstname.lastname@example.org.