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Granite Bay Marine gave the ultimate sacrifice

Family remembers that freedom isn’t free
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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In October 2010 Patty Schumacher was in the midst of helping her future daughter-in-law, Courtney Gold, with wedding details. Gold had her white gown picked out, knowing Victor Dew, of Granite Bay, was the one man she wanted waiting for her at the end of the aisle. Her U.S. Marine proposed in true fairytale fashion at Disneyland. One month later he was deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Dew was excited to finally live out his dream of serving his country on the frontlines, but back home he had other dreams for his future waiting patiently for him to return. The ultimate sacrifice Just 18 days into his tour, Thomas Schumacher, Victor’s dad, was teaching his mother how to send a special e-mail message to her grandson when three U.S. Marines arrived at the door. Before they even said a word, Schumacher knew his worst fear had just been realized. “I walked up and saw three marines and said, “I have got to go, three Marines are here,’” Tom said. “I could hear the gasp over the phone. It was the worst experience I have ever had.” An Improvised Explosive Device went off on Oct. 13, killing four U.S. Marines — Lance Cpl. Joseph E. Rodewald, 21, of Albany, Oregon, Cpl. Justin J. Cain, 22, from Manitowoc, Wisc., Lance Cpl. Phillip D. Vinnedge, 19, Saint Charles, Mont., and his son, Victor A. Dew, 20. Now, Tom and his wife’s greatest fear is that their brave, young hero will be forgotten. “He was always forward thinking, planned things out. He had goals and things to do,” Tom said. “Our biggest fear is that our children will be forgotten. I find myself going back and looking at old videos a lot.” Never forgotten This year has been especially hard for the Schumacher’s. Dew would have turned 21, married the love of his life and spent his first Christmas at home since he enlisted. The Schumacher’s remember a boy who was always wise beyond his years. By his senior year of high school he was a double black belt. On the frontlines, his leadership skills steadfastly shined. When a fellow Marine was caught in some razor wire during a mission, it was Dew who told the whole unit to stop and get him out of it. “He said, ‘hold it. Stop. We have to this off of him. He had them set up position and secure the perimeter,” Tom said. Patty said one hug or talk from Victor could take away anyone’s sadness. They remember him in any way they can. His stocking still hangs on the mantle and a large, framed photo of him stands guard in front of the Christmas tree. On his 21st birthday this year they took a duplicate bottle of Tequila that they bought on a family vacation for him to drink when he became of legal age, poured shots for the adults, apple juice for the kids, and cheers’ed to Victor. They went and met his unit at the airport when they came home for good. In the spirit of always remembering they asked some of his closest friends in the military to share stories about Victor. “I said tell me a story. I won’t know if it’s true. I’ll have to believe you,” Patty said. Dew’s sergeant presented her with a cigar and told her the story behind it. Dew bought a large box of cigars, passed them out to his unit and said they would all smoke the cigars together when their tour was over. He told another friend how special it was to share a drink with his parents in Mexico, where drinking is legal for adults, after he turned 18. The cost of freedom Patty paints messages on her back window in tribute of her son and soldiers everywhere. Some say ‘freedom isn’t free. In fact the cost is high. It costs lives’ and ‘my son, my hero.’ It’s her way of giving voice to a war that few people think about daily. “I think it’s because the media has shut a lot of it out,” Patricia said. “The only ones that are thinking about it are the military families. He always wanted to be a Marine, the best of the best.” Patty estimates that over 100 people have been impacted by her son’s death. She thinks about how many families are still being impacted like hers. She said you never really get over grieving, but just learn how to do it better. “They are still out there. There are a lot of empty seats at the table. We can’t forget any of them. That’s your biggest fear is they’ll be forgotten.” Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com. ______________________________________________________ Courtney Gold, 21, of Rocklin, will never forget the love and dreams she shared with her fallen Marine Victor A. Dew. Dew gave his life for his country on Oct. 13, 2010 after his military vehicle was hit with an improvised explosive device. The couple would’ve wed this October and shared their first Christmas as a married couple this year. She wrote about one of her favorite memories of him: “We had wonderful times together and knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together since the first time I said, ‘I love you.’ We had life in the grasp of our hands and we were ready to take on the world. I remember being with him at the lake and we both just read together. The water was freezing, but he begged me to get in with him. Once I got into the water I complained that I was cold, so he pulled me close. He looked me in the eye and told me “I love you.” I told him I loved him too and we kissed. Wouldn’t you know, I wasn’t cold anymore. The boy was a true angel, with knowledge and a soul beyond his time. He was a man, and a hero, and I will never forget him. Rest in peace my dear fiancé; I know we will meet again.” ______________________________________________________ Honoring our heroes The Journal is publishing a week-long series to honor those who’ve served and those who gave their lives during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. To read stories, view photos and watch video, visit www.auburnjournal.com. Sunday – How does the community help? A look at what’s available for veterans Monday – A father remembers his son Tuesday – Family keeps soldier at home year-round Wednesday – Wife carries on husband’s memory Thursday – A look at local soldiers who’ve lost their lives Friday – A Gold Star parent keeps traditions alive Sunday – A solider comes home