Proos welcomes Iraq War veteran to Senate Memorial Day Service

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LANSING, Mich. Sen. John Proos welcomed Iraq War veteran Sgt. Rebecca Payne to the state Capitol on Thursday for the Michigan Senate’s 21st Annual Memorial Day Service, which honored Michigan’s fallen soldiers and paid respect to all past and current service members.

“It is a tremendous honor to participate in this service to remember those who gave their lives defending liberty and to celebrate everything they fought and died to protect,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “I was proud to have Rebecca Payne as my guest. Our nation remains strong today because of the men and women like her who put their lives on the line for our freedoms. She almost died in a suicide bomber attack in 2005. Thankfully, Rebecca returned home; yet so many of our heroes never do.

“I encourage everyone to honor the valiant efforts of the brave Americans who put country before self and who gave the full measure in defense of liberty.”

Payne graduated from River Valley High School in Three Oaks, earned degrees from Lake Michigan College and Western Michigan University, and received a doctorate from Thomas Cooley Law School in 2001.

She joined the U.S. Army in 2003 and was deployed to Iraq. She survived an IED attack with only hearing loss. Then, on August 23, 2005, a suicide bomber came into a small dining facility and detonated himself about four feet from Payne, killing two Americans and seven Iraqis. Her injures left her in a coma for nearly two weeks.

After returning home, Payne returned to her law background and now works at the Berrien County Courthouse as a court clerk for Judge Arthur Cotter.

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Editor’s Note: The above photograph of Proos and Payne is available by clicking on the above image or by visiting Proos’ website at: www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on Photowire under the Media Center tab.

Video comments by Proos will be available later on the website. Click on Video under the Media Center tab.