A memorial service has been scheduled for Tuesday in Durant for Michael David Copeland, the 37-year-old Colbert man who died in Iraq June 9.
The family was kept waiting for nearly a month as U.S. and Iraqi officials determined the proper course of action. Copeland was one of the first Americans to die in Iraq since the U.S. Military left, although the cause of death is still undetermined. He was found dead in his quarters while overseas working as an aircraft mechanic for DynaCorp.
His body was released to U.S. authorities recently and he was flown to Dover Air Base from Baghdad.
The Copeland family stated on their Facebook page that he is tentatively scheduled to arrive at DFW airport on Saturday night. “The Patriot Guard Riders from Oklahoma and Texas will be escorting him from the airport in Dallas to the funeral home in Durant.”
“Getting Michael David home was really a group effort and the outpouring of support is indicative of the kind of man he was,” the family states on their Facebook page. “We are so appreciative for all the help, words of encouragement and condolences, and open offers to assist our family in so many ways over the past several weeks. We are truly, truly grateful.”
The memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Brown’s Funeral Service Chapel in Durant. Burial with full military honors will follow at Silo Cemetery, and the family will gather for a meal afterward at Durant Masonic Lodge.
A full obituary for Copeland, who was a veteran of the US Marines and Oklahoma Air National Guard, appears on Page 2 of today’s Democrat, detailing the life of a “loving son with an adventurous spirit and a caring heart.” Some of those qualities are evident in the charity which the family chose for memorial contributions in Copeland’s name: The Horned Lizard Conservation Society (www.hornedlizards.org).