Funeral planned for fallen Shelby County soldier

SHELBY COUNTY, TX, (KTRE) - The body of Spc. Cory Bertrand is scheduled to arrive at the Center Airport on Wednesday, October 22 at noon.

The Patriot Guard Riders will establish a flag line at Mangum Funeral Home prior to the funeral service for Spc Bertrand.  Anyone who would like to join them, you are welcome to come out and show your support for Spc. Cory Bertrand.  We ask our community to please come out and show their support for Spc. Cory Bertrand who lost his life on Tuesday October 14, 2008 in Afghanistan fighting for our country. Funeral Services will be 1: 00 pm at Mangum Funeral Home on Thursday, October 23rd.

The procession will proceed from the Mangum Funeral Home to the Center Square and turn right onto Shelbyville St. and will follow US Hwy 87 South through Shelbyville and will turn left onto FM 139 (Lout Town Grocery). Go 7 miles turn right onto CR 3184 continue 4 miles to Forestry Rd 126 turn left go 1 mile and Pleasant Hill Cemetery will be on the left side of the road.

A Shelby County teenager is one of three Fort Hood soldiers who has died in an explosion while serving in Afghanistan.   The fallen soldier is Specialist Cory Bertrand, 18,  of Center. He was driving a Hum-Vee when the vehicle was bombed in Qazi bandeh, Afghanistan. The other fallen soldiers are Spc. Stephen Fortunato, 25,  of Danvers, Mass., and Sgt. Preston Medley,23, of Baker, Fla.  They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Hood.   Specialist Bertrand's family learned of his death on Wednesday.

Cory Bertrand's teenage years were spent playing in the front yard of a white frame house. His step grandparents live there in the Neuville area of Shelby County. His grandfather, Johnny Allen recalls the quality time they spent together.    " We shot guns together and we walked the place here together. I do some mechanic work and he enjoyed being with me while I was doing that."  The country boy decided to join the Army at age 17. His young age, required his mother, Charlotte Allen to sign the enlistment papers. She agreed so her son could have the future he wanted. She's too sad to talk, but her pastor, Charles Boster, delivers her message.

" She would want people to understand that now is a great difficult time. She does not blame the country. She does not blame the government for sending him, but she would, she just hates the fact that he's dead and would like to have him back. "

Now there are only memories and pictures. Images that clearly show how a young boy quickly turned into a young man.    " Looking (at the photographs)  you saw the difference in him. He had more determination in his eyes. His face seemed to have that look of being, ' I'm serious about what I'm doing and I really know he had come to realize that his purpose in life was fulfilled in being in the military, " observed Boster.   The family also spoke of how Cory's recognition of others broadened. " I think the military in this sense he seemed to understand that there are greater things than himself and you sensed that, " shared Boster.

Cory was scheduled to come home next month for his 19th birthday and Thanksgiving. . His grandmother, Lillian Allen, was looking forward to the homecoming. Now she's preparing for a funeral.  " He felt like he was doing his job to protect not only his family, but his country and he saw a purpose for his life, " said Allen

Specialist Cory Bertrand will be honored with full military service at Mangum Funeral Home in Center. Services are pending until his body arrives to East Texas, sometime next week. Specialist Bertrand is the third soldier with Shelby County ties to be killed in action.