Soldier's Death Felt Across County Lines

Sean Cooley's many friends in the Singing River Emergency Room came to work with heavy hearts. Some had heard the news Thursday night that the guardsman had been killed in Iraq. Others found out Friday morning.

Darlene Phillips is a nurse who worked with Cooley.

"When you come in and you find out that that was somebody that you loved and a friend of yours that you worked with and are hoping to get the privilege of working with again, it was him, it's unbelievable. It's still almost unbelievable."

But all you have to do is see the black ribbon that hangs over Cooley's picture on the wall in the hallway of the E.R. It's a sad reminder that Cooley won't walk these halls again.

Dr. Steve Demetropoulos says, "He knew he had committed himself to the National Guard and that he would probably get called up and he didn't appear to be afraid of it. He said we're just going to try to all go over there together, make sure everybody comes home together and try to make the best of it. That's what he told me before he left."

Nurse Wesley Lyons knew Cooley for ten years. They worked together at George County Hospital before both getting jobs in Pascagoula. Cooley was more than just somebody Lyons knew at work. They were fishing buddies.

"We'd plan to go fishing when he got back. Outside of work we'd hang out a little together, fish together, stuff like that. And that's one of the things I said before he left. I said, 'You know, when you get back, we'll go fishing.'"

Lyons says he'll still go fishing, and reel in a big one for his friend Sean Cooley.