Honoring Specialist Michael Ray Hayes

By: Ashley Davidson
By: Ashley Davidson

As three Black Hawk Helicopters flew overhead, the family of Specialist Michael Ray Hayes was seated in the front, watching as their son and brother was carried in and saluted by the military.

Adjutant General Donald Storm read a statement from the family about Specialist Hayes.

Storm says: "We are happy to know Michael touched so many through his good works and personality."

The girls on the Butler County High School say their lives have changed by having Hayes as their coach and friend.

Tina Laverack played soccer for Hayes. She says "There's no words for how proud we could possible be. He did everything for his country. He died trying to help our country and trying to give us rights that other people don't have."

The girls wore black bands on their arms in memory of the coach they loved. Many of them were inconsolable as they laid roses on top of his coffin.

Laverack says: "He was just a wonderful person and I think everyone should have had the chance to meet him. They would have loved him."
His family and fiancee say they wonder what the future may have been, if Hayes had lived.

Storm (reading family statement) says: "He had a great future ahead of him. One that will never be realized. That is the greatest tragedy of all."

His team says he can never be replaced and they've started a new tradition to remember him by.

The whole teams yells, "Go Mike's Team!"

Hayes brother and sister are also in the 617th military police. General storm says he is giving them the option to return to Iraq. He says at this point Hayes brother, Jamie may or may not return. He says Hayes' sister definitely wants to return and defend our country. The same way her brother Michael did.

Morgantown Soldier Dies 06-16-05
A Kentucky National Guard soldier who coached a girls soccer team in Butler County is killed in Iraq. 29-year-old specialist Michael Ray Hayes of Morgantown died Tuesday near Baghdad when insurgents fired on their armored humvee with a rocket propelled grenade. The Kentucky soldiers were providing security around a suspected improvised explosive device when the attack took place. Hayes was assigned to the 617th military police company based in Richmond with a detachment in bowling green. Hayes' brother and sister specialist James Hayes and specialist Melissa Stewart are also in Iraq with the same unit. They're expected to accompany the body to Bowling Green for funeral services which are not complete. Four other soldiers were wounded in the attack. Their injuries said to be minor. Hayes joined the National Guard in December of 2002. He is a native of Bowling Green and attended Western Kentucky University. He served as a coach for the Butler County High School girl's soccer team. According to The Butler County Superintendent Hayes was on leave last week and was able to have pizza with some of his team. He went back to Iraq last Saturday and was killed on Tuesday. Hayes is the sixth member of the Kentucky National Guard to be killed in action since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Governor Ernie Fletcher has directed flags at all state office buildings be lowered to half-staff in honor of the Morgantown soldier.


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