Lance Cpl. Joe Tomci and a fellow Marine with Third Battalion, Eighth Marines Regiment, Lima Company, 4th Platoon, look at a map while on a security patrol in Khamra, Iraq, May 26, 2005.
A 21-year-old Marine from Stow who was a pen pal to a group of students at Fishcreek Elementary was killed Wednesday morning by a roadside bomb in Iraq, his family said.
Cpl. Joe Tomci, who was on his second tour of duty, enlisted in the Marine Corps right after his 2003 graduation from Stow-Munroe Falls High School.
His father said Tomci loved what he was doing.
“He felt that they were really doing something worthwhile,” John Tomci said.
Susan Walker, John Tomci’s girlfriend, said the last time anyone had spoken with Joe was three to four weeks ago.
“He was really excited to be coming home,” she said. “He only had about a month to go.”
During his first tour in Iraq, Tomci corresponded with Tracy Piatt’s second-grade class.
“The packages (the students sent) were one of the best motivations while I was in Iraq,” he told the class when he visited them after his first tour ended, according to a 2005 article in the Stow Sentry. “I would read the letters for hours. It means a lot to me.”
The city of Stow lowered its flag to half-staff Wednesday and Mayor Karen Fritschel called the family with her condolences, Walker said.
Tomci was a member of the 3rd Battalion, 8th Regiment, Lima Company, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
I had to post about this Marine, not only for the ultimate sacrifice he made, but because he meant the world to a class full of second graders. They had no bigger thrill then when he came into their class after his first tour in Iraq and there will be no bigger heartbreak for them then losing this soldier they wrote to and sent packages to throughout his tour. If ever a soldier had a fan club…
Story: Akron Beacon Journal
Photo: USMC photo by LCpl Matthew Hutchison