A West Alexandria man who died in Afghanistan while serving in the Army National Guard was laid to rest on Monday.
The funeral and burial for Spc. Cody Dalton Suggs, 22, took place in West Alexandria as friends and family remembered the young man who was dedicated at his job and a talented artist.
Suggs, a 2009 graduate of Twin Valley South High School, died March 7 at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, while on mission with the 1487th Transportation Company, based in Piqua, according to the Department of Defense. His death is associated with a non-combat incident that is under investigation.
Suggs was 17 years old when he joined the Ohio National Guard. He worked as a truck driver with the company, which is part of the 371st Sustainment Brigade, based in Springfield, Ohio National Guard spokesman James A. Sims previously said.
His deployment late last year was his first since joining the Guard, and he was scheduled to return home in October, his grandfather Robert Suggs said. A parade was held in West Alexandria on Saturday in his honor, the grandfather said.
Nathan Hall, also a member of the 1487th Transportation Company, said in a Facebook message that Suggs was a “quiet soldier who kept to himself a lot, but he was a hard working soldier who always put the mission first and got the job done.”
Suggs also worked at Marsh Supermarket in Eaton, where he was a night manager in charge of running the third-shift stock crew, said Marsh co-manager Jennifer Kennedy.
Kennedy hired Suggs, who started at Marsh on Oct. 15, 2007 as a cashier. He went from cashier to office clerk, then was the frozen food manager before taking the night manager position.
“For his age, he’s the most responsible kid I’ve ever seen,” Kennedy said. “He showed up on time. He never had a problem with attendance, which is rare for a kid his age. He was very compassionate toward our customers. With our elderly customers, he’d take out their stuff for them. He was very sweet and kind, and had a big heart. He never said an unkind word about anybody. He was an all-around good kid.”
After graduation, Suggs went from working 20 to 25 hours per week to 40-plus hours and was classified as a full-time employee, Kennedy said. She said Suggs and a former Marsh employee, Matt Wentlender, were deployed to Afghanistan together.
Kennedy said Suggs also had artwork displayed at the Preble County Fine Arts Center in Eaton.
“He was amazing at what he did,” Kennedy said. “He loved music and movies. He was a talented person. He exceeded very well for his age. We loved him, very much so.”
Scott Cottingim, the principal at Twin Valley South High School, said Suggs was an A/B student who was on yearbook staff as a senior, was the prom king and a member of the school’s art program all four years.
“He was a good student and very active with our art program,” Cottingim said. “He was well liked with his peers and well thought of. He’s going to be greatly missed.”
Cottingim said Suggs’ graduating class was 60 students.
“It was a close-knit group,” Cottingim said. “His loss has really affected his family and really affected our community as well.”
Suggs is survived by his parents Brian and Wendy Suggs, sister Taylor Suggs and a host of other family members.
His family has asked that donations be made to the USO in memory of him. Donations can be sent to USO, P.O. Box 96322, Washington, D.C. 20090-6322.