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Mom’s Hummer tribute to her fallen son

4-wheel salute to fallen part of Manteca event

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Mom’s Hummer tribute to her fallen son

The Never Forget Our Fallen Tribute Hummer with the images of Debbie Getz' son Kristofer Thomas and six other men who died with him on Feb. 17, 2007 in Afghanistan air brushed on the side of the ve...

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POSTED April 29, 2009 2:35 a.m.
It is a Hummer like no other you’ll see.

Airbrushed on it are the images of seven members of the American Special Forces who died in Afghanistan on Feb. 27, 2007 in a helicopter crash during the War on Terror.

The Hummer is a tribute by Roseville resident Deborah Getz to her son Kristofer Thomas and the other fallen not just in Afghanistan and in Iraq but in all wars America has waged to preserve liberty and freedom. It will be in display during the regional Memorial Day Weekend ceremonies at Woodward Park in Manteca on Sunday, May 24.

“Nothing I can say or do will bring the fallen back but I can help honor them and remind people of the sacrifices they made as well as that of their children and families,” Getz said.

Kristofer wanted to become an Army Ranger at an early age. He transferred to the neighboring Western Placer Unified School District where Lincoln High had a JROTC program for his freshmen and sophomore years. He finished up his secondary education at Roseville High where he enlisted in the Army at age 17.

“They wouldn’t let him sign up for the Rangers because of his age,” his mother said.

Determined, when the opportunity came during basic training Thomas stepped up and was able to meet the high threshold of physical, mental stamina and commitment required to have the honor of being called an Army Ranger.

Thomas died at age 18 in Afghanistan.

The story of the Hummer is as much a story about the Getz family as it is about the sacrifices of men and women who gave their lives serving America.

A few years prior, she and her husband Eddie were debating whether her next car should be a new Thunderbird or a Hummer 2. It ended up being a Thunderbird.

She then would joke that her boys one day could buy her the Hummer.

“I’d say when they got jobs they could buy Mom her Hummer,” Getz recalled.

Her other son - Nick Getz, 22, - served three years in Iraq and has since returned home.
Shortly after she buried her son, Getz told her husband she was going to buy the Hummer in honor of her son and others who have served. Nothing came of it until months later when the couple was out on a bike ride. She stopped, took off her helmet, and announced she was going to buy the Hummer now.

She ended up going through a Hummer dealer in Arkansas who was near the air-brush artist who had created similar tributes on the vehicle that has become associated with the 21st century military much as the Jeep was with the military in the 20th century.

They flew out to pick up the finished Hummer. Since then, she has been using every opportunity she can to do her part in making sure people do not forget those who have served – whether they made the ultimate sacrifice or eventually returned home.

“It’s not just Iraq and Afghanistan but in all the wars,” Getz said.

Getz founded Never Forgot Our Fallen. The Roseville-based organization is planning to build a memorial wall listing all the names of the fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan. Other plans are to put in place a website that has the names and photos or all who have died in the Global War on Terror as well as a short biography on each man and woman.
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