A Man Says Thank You

A story of incredible gratitude and humanity.
Some things are universal.

A mother's grief. An immigrant's gratitude.

Lance Cpl. Allan Klein, 34, was one of 31 U.S. service members killed Jan. 26 when his troop transport helicopter crashed in Iraq. They were part of a team providing security in the run-up to that country's first free election in decades.

Today at 11 a.m., Klein's parents will say good-bye to their son at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Roseville. They needed a place to hold a luncheon after the service, and on Monday, they called Athena Banquet Center on Gratiot.

They didn't know then that Youil Ishmail, who owns the Roseville hall, had voted the day before in the very election Klein gave his life to secure. They didn't know that, at age 46, the man everyone calls Louie had for the first time been able to freely choose the leadership in the land of his birth.

So when Ishmail heard it was the mother of a slain Marine on the phone Monday, he didn't hesitate.

"This Marine give his life for me to go and vote," he said. "This is the least I can give this lady, just to give her some comfort.

"I tell her, 'Everything. I will take care of everything. It doesn't matter how many come.' "

Simply amazing.

[cross-posted to Rite Turn Only]

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