The Cost In Oregon Lives

When Nancy comes upon the name of an Oregonian who has died she spends a little more time. The name is written in white chalk. The soldiers age and hometown are noted and a quote from the soldier or family member or friend is added.

This weekend she had to do the names of 4 Oregonians.

Erik Kesterson was 29 when he died November 15 2003. He had served 8 years in the Marines, but after September 11th he joined the Army. After his death his parents spearheaded a campaign to build an Afghan-Iraq Freedom Memorial. The statue stands today on the Capitol grounds in Salem OR.

2 Oregonians died on December 8th 2003. Joe Blinkenstaff of Corvallis was 23. His brother Erik and sister Suzy are members of Gold Star Families for Peace.

Christopher Rivera-Wesley was 26 when he died December 8th. After graduating from Beaverton High School he went to live with his Grandmother in Guam. She was ill and he was taking care of her. She died while he was in Iraq. “We thought he’d be able to come here and pay his respects to his grandmother,” his uncle Joseph Wesley said from Guam. “He tried to come home, but it didn’t work out. Now this happens and we’re all taking it very hard.”

Nathan Nakis of Albany was 19 when he died December 12th 2003. Nathan had just started studying engineering at OSU when his engineering National Guard unit was called to Iraq. “His heart was different than other people’s hearts,” family friend Mike Janicki said. “Nathan went over there to win the peace.”

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