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In Memory

Randy Matheny - Class Of 2004

Sgt. Randy Jay Matheny, age 20, died Feb. 4, 2007, near Baghdad, Iraq. He was killed by a roadside bomb while serving his country. Randy was born June 9, 1986, in Oberlin, Kan., and lived in McCook his entire life. he graduated from McCook High School in 2004. He joined the Nebraska National Guard Mar. 28, 2005, and went to basic training in October 2005 at Ft. Jackson, S.C. His unit, the 1074th Transportation Company of Sidney, was called to serve at Camp Al Taqaddum, Iraq in October 2006. Randy loved all types of music, riding his motorcycle, and driving his Cadillac. His greatest joy was spending time with his friends and being with his family. Randy is survived by his parents, Gary Matheny and fiancee Kay Chambers of Oberlin, Kan., and Jan Collins and husband Duane Collins of McCook; his fiancee, Courteney Gibson of McCook; brother, Paul (Christine) Matheny, stationed at Ft. Riley, Kan.; sisters, Karen Matheny, currently stationed at Camp Anaconda, Iraq, Laci (Jason) Igels of McCook, and Kori Collins of Omaha; grandparents, Freida Matheny of Oberlin, Kan., Myrna and Larry Lacina of Westminster, Colo., and Margot Alexander of Broomfield, Colo.; great-grandmother, Hazel Flaska of Oberlin, Kan.; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. Funeral services were Feb. 16, 2007, at the McCook City Auditorium with CH (COL) Rod Armon officiating. A full Military Honor Committal followed at Memorial Park Cemetery with Carpenter Breland Funeral Home of McCook in charge of arrangements. Memorials may be given in his name. Source of information: Custer County Chief Broken Bow, NE 





Friends mourn Randy Matheny Thursday, February 8, 2007 Connie Jo Discoe One of Randy Matheny's best friends calls the young soldier killed in Baghdad Feb. 4, "a true American hero." Another of Randy's friends, and a fellow 2004 graduate of McCook Senior High, promises Matheny, "Someday we will be together again." Randy's older brother, whose footsteps Randy followed into the military, wrote recently on a personal web page that his hero is "any person who has worn the uniform of the American fighting man/woman." Specialist Randy J. Matheny, the 20-year-old son of Jan Collins and Gary Matheny of McCook, died when an improvised explosive device detonated next to the armored security vehicle in which he served as a gunner. The Nebraska Army National Guard, which Matheny joined on March 28, 2005, has posthumously promoted Matheny to the rank of sergeant. Matheny's family plans a press conference Friday, and family members decline to comment until then. Details about funeral services for Matheny will be released as they become available. National Guard spokesman Capt. Kevin Hynes said today that he has spoken with a friend of Matheny's family who reports that the family is doing as well as can be expected. Hynes said, "They're holding together. They're doing the best they can. It's a very strong family." Justin Ele, an '04 graduate of MHS with Matheny, said that he and Matheny have been best friends since their freshman year in high school. "He was an amazing friend," Ele said. "He's a guy you could trust and a guy who you could sit around with and have a good time." Ele said that Matheny liked hanging out with his friends and his girlfriend, and enjoyed riding his "crotch rocket" (motorcycle). In a tribute to his friend, Ele wrote: "You know the war's not just over in Iraq. It's here at home for the people who have friends and loved ones over fighting." Ele paid the highest tribute to a soldier: "Randy's a true American hero with a lot of courage and heart." He concluded with this personnel message, "Randy, you will be missed." Randy followed in the footsteps of his brother, Paul, 24, and sister, Karen, 27, when he joined the military. Karen is serving her second tour of duty in Iraq, and Paul is preparing now to deploy. MySpace.com personal Web page entries by Karen and Paul show a close-knit family proud of their service to their country. Karen wrote: "My baby brother, I will miss you every day forever. I love you so much. Rest in peace. I know you're watching over us." Karen wrote before her brother's death that she was looking forward to a reunion with "friends, family and BBQ. The best thing for me is when my brothers and I get home ... who could ask for more?!" Sean Whitaker, a close friend of Randy Matheny and a fellow MHS graduate, wrote this: "Close your eyes, my very best friend; let your war days come to an end. It is your time to transcend. Someday we will be together again. Your memory to me is a godsend, and your journey has yet to end." McCook Mayor Dennis Berry said that Matheny's death reinforces in everyone the importance of family, friends, faith and country. Mayor Berry wrote Wednesday, "Life has a way of whispering to us when sacred moments occur, and Randy's death while representing our country was one of those moments." He continued, "We must rededicate ourselves to appreciating all of the God-given gifts of living in McCook, Nebraska and the United States. Berry concluded, "Our heartfelt thanks go to Randy's family for his service, as well as our prayers and condolences." Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson said Tuesday afternoon that the war in Iraq hit him especially hard with the report of Matheny's death. Nelson also calls McCook his hometown. Sen. Nelson said, "The death of someone you love, or a hometown resident, or someone who is serving America in the miliary is never easy and words cannot express my sorrow. All I can say is Randy Matheny gave his all in the service of his country. There is no greater calling, and his family and all of McCook can take great pride in that and, hopefully, take some comfort knowing that Randy died honorably while serving others."The Senator concluded: "I know McCook will pull together and support the family during their time of grief." Source of information: McCook Daily Gazette McCook, NE