RIP: 2nd Lieutenant Stephanie Hurley

I just received the following e-mail from Norwich earlier today:

Norwich University has learned that Second Lieutenant Stephanie Hurley ’07 died on Tuesday, July 29 after a brief illness. Stephanie was the captain of the Norwich Women’s Rugby team and graduated summa cum laude. She was currently a US Army Second Lieutenant with the Texas Army National Guard. The thoughts and prayers of the Norwich community go out to Stephanie’s family and friends during this difficult time.

This comes as a shock - Stephanie was one of my classmates at Norwich, a fellow geology or environmental science major, if memory serves. We had field geology together, maybe a couple of other classes as well over the four years that I was there, and we were in the same graduating class last May. I remember her as someone who was very quite and reserved, but always very polite and nice to speak with.

I've known this was coming - things happen after college - people get hit by cars, killed by criminals, commit suicide or leave this world somehow. Going to a military college, I've had classes with a number of students who are now off in Iraq or Afghanistan, and I know that there's a very good chance that some of my friends might never leave that country. Stephanie apparently died of an rapid illness, which also came as a bit of a surprise - I would have thought that one of my former classmates would have been killed in action.

It's scary how one's perception of your time changes as you get older. A couple of weeks ago, the 501st Legion lost one of our members, Nick Ring, to complications from a routine surgery. There was a huge outpouring of support and grief from the rest of the Legion. The scary thing is that he was only twenty-two. From my high school class, we've already lost at least one person, that I've heard of, due to a drug overdose.

I'd like to go to the visiting hours for Stephanie, but I just won't be able to, given that it's mid-week and almost four hours away from me. I've already done a long trip this past weekend, and the way gas prices are at the moment, it's just not possible. My sincere condolences go out to Stephanie's family - she will be missed for the bright and kind person I remember her as.