Diamond and Coal City show support for wounded soldier
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain firstname.lastname@example.org July 23, 2012 1:18PM
Updated: August 25, 2012 6:07AM
Yellow ribbons blanketed the Diamond-Coal City area on Saturday in support of Marine Cpl. Joseph Singer, 22, who was critically injured July 12 while serving in Afghanistan.
More than 400 ribbons were posted on light poles, trees, commercial buildings and residences, said event organizer Debbie Trippiedi, who is the founder of Operation Moms Cookies Inc., a Wilmington-based group that sends care packages to soldiers.
“It was just overwhelming and such a privilege to be a part of the hundreds of people who came out in support,” she said. “It was just a constant, beautiful stream of yellow ribbons.”
In addition to the yellow-ribbon event, Operation Moms Cookies has established a “Joseph Singer Fund” at Morris Credit Union to help Singer’s family cope with expenses related to his injuries.
Donations can be made to either credit union branch, 1800 E. Division St. in Diamond or 220 E. High St., Morris.
“He has a very, very long road to recovery and tremendous support is needed back home,” Trippiedi said.
Singer of Diamond was hit with a rocket-propelled grenade as he walked with his canine military police partner on patrol, Trippiedi said. He was injured in the stomach and legs and was first treated at hospitals in Afghanistan and Germany.
On Friday, he was transferred to Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland, said Trippiedi, who has been in contact with Singer’s mother, Jennifer Cherveny of Diamond.
Trippiedi met Singer a year ago at his “welcome home” party from his first tour of duty.
“He’s an amazing young man,” she said. “He’s a very humble, quiet young man. Very proud, extremely proud of being a U.S. Marine and being able to do his job for our country.”
While everyone is worried about Singer, Singer was worried about his canine partner immediately after he was wounded, Trippiedi said.
“The dog did survive and that’s one of the first things the Marine MPs worry about,” she said. “That dog is just like his son.”
Coal City Mayor Neal Nelson said his daughter, Coley, went to high school with Singer, who graduated in 2008. Singer played on the football team at the high school. He joined the Marines in 2010, Nelson said.
Ken W. Miller, district administrator of the Coal City School District, said Singer was a great student.
“He was a very hard worker and he loved school. He was the type of person that any time you’d ask him to do something around the school, he was happy to do it. He has a tremendously positive attitude. I don’t remember a time when he was down.”
Nelson said he is proud of his area’s outpouring of support for Singer and his family.
“It shows the community really cares about what’s going on,” Neal said. “If somebody needs help, the community is stepping forward.”
Diamond Mayor Terry Kernc agreed.
“The whole area is participating,” she said. I makes you proud and to an American and to live where we live.”
In addition to ribbons and fundraisers, Kernc said there is one other thing Singer’s well-wishers are doing.
“We’re just praying for him and can’t wait for him to make it home.”