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Baptist, Nazarene churches comfort lost soldier’s family


GALLATIN, Tenn. (BP)–A Southern Baptist church and a Nazarene church are joining together to reach out to the family of the first Tennessee soldier killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

U.S. Marine Patrick Nixon, 21, of Gallatin, was declared dead by the military March 30 after being listed as Missing in Action for several days following an operation on the outskirts of Nasiriyah, Iraq.

His parents are members of College Heights Baptist Church in Gallatin, while his sister and brother-in-law attend First Church of the Nazarene.

“We’re brothers together trying to reach out to a family going through an impossible situation,” Mike Blankenship, the Nazarene church’s pastor, said in reference to College Heights Baptist pastor Larry Gilmore.

“Scripture says there will be wars and rumors of war. You’ve got to deal with it. But you also try to minister to people and let them know God is there and God can seem them through.”

Blankenship told Baptist Press that “we’re just doing what Jesus would have anybody do.”

Christians need to be praying for the Nixon family, Gilmore said.

“We just need to pray that they will be able to draw upon the strength of the love that is offered to them,” he said. “It’s certainly a time of grief for them in thinking back over their lives with Patrick.”

Nixon was proud of his service to his country, Gilmore said he was told by the parents.

“He was very much aware of what he was doing,” Gilmore said. “He loved his country and he loved [the American] flag, and he was willing to be a part of defending that flag. He felt like he was doing the right thing.”

Nixon was a graduate of Overton High School and had joined the military in hopes of one day becoming a history teacher, The Tennessean newspaper reported. He was assigned to the military base in Camp Lejeune, N.C.
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  • Michael Foust