Family of fallen soldier heads to Arlington

Patricia Smith said it is a daily struggle to deal with the loss of her oldest son, Army Sgt. Timothy Smith, who was killed by a roadside bomb explosion in Baghdad on April 7.

"You know, we're just kind of going day-by-day," said Smith.

Patricia's younger son, Tommy, and daughter, Jackie, have been irreplaceable during the tough months after Timothy's death, Smith said.

"I would not be able to do it without them," she said.

The Smiths hope to join family members who live in the eastern United States during a ceremony honoring Timothy Smith at Arlington National Cemetery on Oct. 7, but cannot do it without assistance.

The family scattered Timothy's ashes, so the fallen soldier will not be buried at the national cemetery, but Smith will have a plaque at Arlington honoring his sacrifice.

A fundraiser to help pay for the Smiths' travel expenses to the ceremony will be this evening at Dopplegangers.

The fundraiser also will benefit the family of Pfc. Alejandro "Alex" Varela.

Varela " a 19-year-old Fernley resident " was killed by an improvised explosive device in Baghdad about a month after Smith.

The fundraiser arose with the help of representatives from both Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons' and Secretary of State Ross Miller's offices, as well as Carson City resident P.J. Degross.

Degross is the founder of Web of Support, an Internet-based program connecting those willing to send letters and care packages with U.S. service members deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

But her support extends beyond those who currently are deployed.

"We want to make sure the families are taken care of," Degross said. "The families are still in the war, we might say."

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