ENNIS — The family of Army Sgt. Chadrick O. Domino is taking comfort that in his death he is remembered by the community he called home for more than eight years.
The 23-year-old’s sister, Ursula, of Longview said her family is overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from the people of Ennis.
“Our family is at a loss for words for the love shown by the city of Ennis towards Chad. We are overwhelmed and very appreciative of the way he is being remembered,” she said.
Ennis City Manager Steve Howerton said the city will fly flags at half staff until after Domino is laid to rest.
“We are very appreciative of the sacrifice this young man made and we are very proud that he called Ennis home. Our flags will fly at half staff to honor the sacrifice he made and the person he was,” Howerton said.
Domino is remembered as a shy and sincere student by former high school Principal Linda Pirtle.
“I just remember Chad as a good kid who kept his nose to the grindstone but was very friendly and well liked by his peers. He had lots of fun but he always did what he was supposed to do,” Pirtle said.
Ennis Mayor Russell Thomas believes that for Domino, doing what he had to do was something he took very seriously.
“From all I’ve heard and can recall about Chad, I have no hesitation when I say that as far as I’m concerned, he was still doing what he felt he had to do. Our hearts and prayers are with his family. He was a true patriot and we are proud to be able to say he was from Ennis,” he said.
Domino’s sister, Ursula, recalls that her brother always wanted to enter the service and that for him his service to his country was something he was passionate about.
“Chad took all the entrance tests for the Army and the recruiters were blown away by the high scores he received. He entered the Army to serve his country and keep all of us safe and even after being wounded in his first tour in Iraq, he went again,” she said.
Domino was hurt during his first stint in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was awarded a Purple Heart for bravery. His mother, Gloria, was unaware he was in Iraq at the time because he didn’t want her to worry about him.
“When the officers called to say Chad had been hurt my mother was hysterical. When she finally spoke to him on the phone, he told her it was his job and he didn’t want to upset her, so now his term in Iraq was half over and she only had six months to worry about him instead of a full year. He was always thinking of us,” she recalled.
The last time Ursula spoke with her brother was to thank him for an unexpected gift of three dozen roses delivered to her for Mother’s Day and as an early birthday gift.
“The card was not signed and I couldn’t figure out who sent them, but about a week later he called to ask if I’d gotten them. He was always thoughtful and sweet like that. We told each other we loved one another and that was the last time I spoke with him,” Ursula said.
Having good memories to hold onto is what she feels will help her family through this difficult time and she is thankful for all the times they had together.
“Chad loved to eat and he loved our mama’s cooking, that boy would eat us out of house and home when he came back on leave. He always liked to take us out to his favorite restaurant and try to get us to try his favorite dishes. I don’t think I can go there anymore now that he won’t be with me,” she said.
Services for Domino, 23, have not been finalized but they will be held in Longview with interment to follow.
“The army officers are handling all the arrangements for us and because it will take from seven to 10 days for his body to arrive from Iraq, we have not set anything up yet. Whenever the arrangements are final, we would like to invite all Chad’s classmates from Ennis and whoever else that would like to pay their respects to come to the services. He would be honored by their presence,” Ursula said.
Despite their grief, Ursula said the Domino family takes comfort that their loved one died serving our country and that he was happy to do so.
Domino, who was posthumously promoted to sergeant, was a 2002 Ennis High School graduate. He died from wounds suffered when he encountered enemy small arms fire while on dismounted patrol. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Divison (Stryker Brigade Combat Team) at Fort Lewis, Wash.
Domino joined the U.S. Army on Nov. 20, 2002. He attended initial entry training at Fort Jackson, S.C., where he was trained as an administrative specialist, and reported to Fort Lewis on May 2, 2003. He was initially assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Company of 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, and deployed to Iraq from November 2003 to November 2004. In August 2004, he was assigned to 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry within the same brigade, and deployed with the Stryker Brigade to Iraq in June 2006.
He held the primary Military Occupational Specialty of 11B: Infantryman and a secondary specialty of 42A: Human Resources Specialist.
Prior to his death, his military awards and decorations included the Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal (two awards), Meritorious Unit Commendation, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terror Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Combat Action Badge.
Domino’s death marks the fourth military member from Ennis and the seventh from Ellis County to be killed in the line of duty in recent years.
Timothy Lee Gauna of Ennis was killed Oct. 12, 2000, aboard the USS Cole when suicide bombers attacked the ship while it was taking on fuel in the port of Yemen.
Marine Capt. Lyle Gordon of Midlothian was killed Jan. 26, 2005, while piloting a CH-53 helicopter about 220 miles west of Baghdad.
Army Sgt. Shawn Graham, 34, of Red Oak, was killed Sept. 25, 2005, in Balad, Iraq.
Army Spec. Aaron P. Latimer of Ennis was killed May 9, 2006, in Mosul, Iraq.
Navy corpsman Kyle Anthony Nolen, 21, of Ennis was killed in the line of duty in Iraq on Dec. 21, 2006.
Army Spec. Aaron Lee Preston, 29, of Midlothian, was killed Dec. 25, 2006, on a street in Baghdad.