September 13, 2011

Service set for fallen former SIUC ROTC member

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A memorial service is set later this week in Carbondale to honor a former member of the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) who died earlier this month.

The memorial service for Tech. Sgt. Todd Brown is at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 15, at the Wesley Foundation United Methodist Student Center, 816 S. Illinois Ave., Carbondale.

Brown, 34, died Saturday, Sept. 3, from injuries received in an all-terrain vehicle accident east of Cedar Creek, Neb.   Brown was one of five passengers on the back of the ATV that overturned on a sand bar along the Platte River, according to reports.

Brown was on active duty with the U.S. Air Force, and recently relocated from Carbondale to Nebraska, where he reported Sept. 1 to Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue.  Brown joined the Air Force in 1998, and came to the ROTC detachment at SIUC in 2006.

“It’s still unbelievable to us,” said Chilang Lawless, office administrator for Air Force ROTC at SIUC.  “We still cannot believe this happened.  He was looking forward to his new job.”

While at SIUC, Brown was the non-commissioned officer in charge of personnel, and oversaw about 100 cadets a year.  With his move to Offutt Brown was going to work with contracts for the Air Force, Lawless said.

Brown was very active in the lives of his three children, and coached his oldest son’s baseball team, Lawless said.  The ROTC detachment is a close family and its members also are heavily active in the family lives of others within the detachment, she said.

Survivors include Brown’s wife, Jenny Noojibail, and three children, Gehrig, Alice and Emmett.  The children range in age from 7 to 2 years old, Lawless said.

Funeral services were today (Sept. 12), in Schertz, Texas.   Several members of the detachment, including Lt. Col. Melanie Friedman, Major Jim Gill, Capt. Eric Diehl and Staff Sgt. Brandon Ward attended the services.

A “Todd Brown Memorial Fund,” with proceeds going to benefit Brown’s children, is set up at The Bank of Carbondale.  Past and current cadets also are working on a details of a “fun run” to also raise funds for the family, Lawless said.

More information on the memorial service and memorial fund is available by calling the detachment at 618/453-2481.