By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterOctober 14, 2016
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- A decade has passed since the loss of one Fort Rucker Soldier, but the 1st Battalion, 212th Aviation Regiment recently took the time to ensure he and his family were not forgotten.
The family of W01 Michael Boykin, who died in a motorcycle accident in 2006, was honored Oct. 3 during a plaque dedication ceremony at the 1-212th Avn. Regt. headquarters where Boykin's daughter, Kyra, and wife, Patrisha Twyman, were presented a memorial plaque in honor of their loved one.
The plaque once hung in the air traffic control tower at Lowe Army Heliport, but during a renovation some years ago, the plaque was moved and lost until Capt. Robert Sprague, Headquarters Headquarters Company and airfield commander for LAH, found it in his office as he took command.
Upon finding the plaque, Sprague took it upon himself to do some research and find out who the man on the plaque was. After seeing that Boykin was killed in a motorcycle accident in 2006, he reached out to Survivor Outreach Services to track down his family members, so that he could deliver the plaque to where he thought it should be -- in the arms of Boykin's family.
"I just thought it deserved to go with the family rather than to be collecting dust somewhere," said the airfield commander. "If anything ever happened to me, heaven forbid, I'd want someone to do the same thing for my family."
For Twyman, the selfless act was something she said she will forever be grateful for.
"Captain Sprague had a choice when he found the plaque, and could have just let it go somewhere, but he didn't," she said. "He reached out to find out who it belonged to, and I feel so honored and blessed that he was able to do that.
"This is something that's good for my daughter, too, because she was 6 years old when he passed, and she's now 16," she continued. "It's nice for her to get something in remembrance for her father -- it means a lot to me."
Lt. Col. Ross Nelson, 1-212th Avn. Regt. battalion commander, was on hand during the ceremony to remind the family members that they are always part of the Army family.
"I just wanted you to know that even after all of this time, (Boykin's) service is the tie that binds him to us forever, and because of that, also the two of you to the battalion," said the commander. "We want you to know that you're always heartfelt members of the battalion and we do care for you, and we want to see you both continue to grow. Because of that, we wanted to make sure this plaque ended up in your hands, so that he could continue to be remembered."
Following the ceremony, Twyman and her daughter, Kyra, were given a tour of the heliport, where they were able to see and learn how the airfield works in the air traffic control tower, as well as see firsthand the inner workings of UH-60 Black Hawk operations.
Twyman said that as family members, they never forget the loved ones who are lost, but to see that someone who didn't even know her then-husband reach out to honor him touched her heart.
"I can't thank him enough," she said. "I've been involved with the SOS a lot over the years, and it was a true blessing for me to be a part of that group. This here just adds to it, and even though you're not with the military anymore, they're still here for you. I'm very thankful and I'm very honored -- this is a nice way to remember him on this day."