Soldier Loved Cars, Guitars And Family

Sullivan Re-Enlisted To Support Family

POSTED: 5:04 p.m. CST November 17, 2003
UPDATED: 7:43 p.m. CST November 17, 2003

John SullivanJohn Sullivan (pictured, left) loved cars, guitars and his family -- not necessarily in that order.


With a 10-year-old daughter and twins on the way last spring, Sullivan was worried about how to support his growing family. So Sullivan re-enlisted in the Army -- he had served a four-year stint, but was unable to find a good-paying job. Sullivan would e-mail and call from Iraq -- anxious to hear how his family was doing -- but he was also proud to be serving his country.


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On Saturday, Sullivan became a casualty in his country's war in Iraq. Sullivan, 26, was one of 17 soldiers killed when a Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Iraq.


Katrina Sullivan


"It doesn't matter how (he died)," said his widow, Katrina (pictured, right). "The only thing that I know (is) that he's not here and he's not coming home.


"I didn't want to answer the door, because I pretty much knew what they were going to tell me," she recalled.


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War In Iraq Hits Home


Sullivan's mother told NBC5's Mary Ann Ahern her son wanted so badly to serve his country that despite a heart murmur, he lost weight, got in shape and proved to the Army he could do it.


"Because we knew that's what he wanted to do, we were behind him," said his aunt, Felecia Brussel (pictured, below right).


Sullivan's mother also said her son was looking forward to seeing his twin sons, Gavin and Aidan, who were born on Sept. 10. She said because he was in a band and loved music so -- he had hundreds of friends in the Chicago area -- the family is planning a memorial for him here and in Seattle, where his wife lives, as well.


"The family was very connected," Brussel said. "He loved his family; we all loved him so much -- he will be missed."


Sullivan was one of six brothers who grew up near Countryside and Bolingbrook, with a large group of extended family and friends, Ahern further reported. Sullivan's wife and aunt are distraught that he never met his sons. They want him remembered as a kind and thoughtful man who made sure his wife received two dozen roses last week for her birthday.


Felecia Brussel


"He was a great person," Katrina Sullivan said. "He was proud. He was proud of what he was doing."


Regarding his twin sons, she said, "He loved them so much even though he hadn't met them yet."


As Katrina Sullivan makes plans to bury her husband, she wants people to remember one thing.


"Just remember that they're there fighting for you," she said.