The Associated Press
Will Couts, who taught Marine Cpl. Derek C. Dixon at the Military Careers Academy, said he would often talk to Dixon for hours after school about everything from computers to MP3 players.
Couts called him a young man who “could have gone either way” when he was a teen but “found himself and got on the right track.”
Dixon, 20, of Riverside, Ohio, was killed June 26 while working at a vehicle checkpoint in Saqlawiyah, Iraq. He was assigned to Camp Lejeune, Calif.
“Even when he was real young, he always knew he was going to do something wearing a uniform. He was such a good kid, and I’m not just saying that because he was mine,” said his grandmother, Glenda Brightman.
In November 2004, Dixon and another student put together a presentation on Veterans Day for the school. Dixon spoke about the history of the Marine Corps.
“He really believed in it and wanted to serve his country,” Couts said. “He found his niche there.”
“I talked to him before he left,” his sister, Mindy Trochelman, said. “He said he was ready to go, but he was scared.”
He also is survived by his mother, Melissa Trochelman, and father, Tom Trochelman and his wife Ercela.