The Ultimate Sacrifice

Personal condolences and gratitude to the West family on the death of their son

Published in CSP Daily News

By  Paul Reuter, Chairman emeritus and contributing editor

[Editor's Note: I hope you will join all of us at CSP in offering our sincere condolences to John and Marcy West and all of the West family following the loss of their son in Afghanistan this past Monday. It's hard to imagine the horror of losing a child. As you'll read below, John and Marcy's son Matt West proudly served in the military for six years, and we owe this hero a deep debt of gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice he has made on our behalf.

The West Family has requested that any donations be made directly to the USO in tribute to Matt West. Again, we extend our very best wishes [image-nocss] from CSP and the many friends the West family has in this industry in their moment of tragedy.]


ODESSA, Texas -- The convenience store industry is in mourning this week in sympathy to one of its own. John West, the director of sales and marketing for Southwest Convenience Stores/Alon Brands and a frequent attendee of industry events, was alerted Monday afternoon by the Department of Defense that his son, Staff Sgt. Matt West, had been killed in Afghanistan.

Matt West, 36, was one of seven U.S. soldiers who died Monday in two separate roadside bomb attacks in Afghanistan, according to a report in the Gaylord, Mich., Herald Times.

West's sister, Kristine Willis of Levering, Mich., told the newspaper the family received notification of her brother's death Monday. She said he had been deployed to Afghanistan in July.

Willis' husband, Roger, said this was West's second deployment to Afghanistan, and he had served one tour of duty in Iraq.

John West and his wife Marcy, who live in Odessa, Texas, flew to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware with Matt West's wife Carolyn to make funeral arrangements. Roger Willis said the family is requesting burial at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington.

Matt West, who enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2004, was trained in Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) and stationed prior to deployment at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colo., where his wife and three children, sons, Tyler, 4, and Joseph, 3, and daughter, Annalise, 3 months, currently live.

Kristine Willis made a request yesterday to the office of Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm to have the American flag flown at half staff over the state capitol building and across the state in honor of her brother's service to his country.

Click hereto visit the USO's donation webpage.

By Paul Reuter, Chairman emeritus and contributing editor
View More Articles By Paul Reuter