MCHS grad, military veteran preparing for next deployment
September 9, 2011
On the 'Net
To see the ABC video clip featuring Timothy McCoy, visit abclocal.go.com/kabc/video?id=8342930&syndicate=syndicate.
When Timothy McCoy went to Iraq, he came face-to-face with a different world.
Stateside, you flip a switch and take for granted electricity will come on. Cable television and XBox gaming systems are common in households.
Not so in Iraq, said McCoy, a 1989 Moffat County High School graduate.
"They have technology there," he said. "It's just that most of the people can't afford it."
Iraq is one of a list of countries McCoy, a first sergeant in the Army Reserves, has seen in his Army career, which spans more than two decades and includes 11 years active duty in the Army and 10 years in the Army Reserves. He has seen various countries in the Middle East, including Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait. He also served in Iraq from 2005 to 2006.
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The reason he initially entered the military may be a bit out of the ordinary.
Most soldiers "go in for the excitement, … or they go in for the education factor," said McCoy, who lives in California and works for the California Highway Patrol.
He entered the military for the income and medical benefits it offered his family, he said.
Now, however, he has another motivation for staying in the service.
"One (reason) is I love it," he said.
During his stint in Iraq, he aided in the reconstruction effort, trying "to put the country back to the way it was pre-Saddam," McCoy said.
His experiences during that time left a lasting impression.
"It makes people have a reality of life," he said, adding that the greatest impression Iraq had on his life was "to see the culture we live in and what we have versus what they had."
Yet, it was in this foreign country McCoy found something familiar. As he spoke of his experiences in Iraq, his descriptions of the war-torn country were intermingled with his recollections of the people he met there.
"People were great," he said, "always wanting to learn, to get to meet you."
Come October, McCoy will prepare for his next deployment into foreign territory, this time to Afghanistan.
He will leave behind two daughters who live in Craig — Jaycee, 16, a Moffat County High School student who lives with her mother, and McCoy Whitley, 20, — as well as a son, Jarod, 22, of Casper, Wyo. McCoy also has a fourth child, Sami, 4, who lives with he and his wife, Amy, a staff sergeant in the Army Reserves whose career spans 19 years.
But, when he leaves, a reminder of his family will go with him.
HeartsApart.org draws on the talents of professional photographers to provide free family photographs for servicemen and women. The photos are printed on durable material that McCoy said is almost indestructible.
Timothy, Amy and Sami McCoy posed recently for one of these photos, taken by David Hume Kennerly, a Pulitzer prize-winning presidential photographer. That shoot also was featured on a segment about HeartsApart.org that aired recently on ABC News.
And although Timothy McCoy will be separated from his family, he will be serving a cause he believes in.
"It's not like the wars in the past," he said. "They need our help over there."
Contact Bridget Manley at 875-1793 or firstname.lastname@example.org.