Class of 1999
By Samantha Sommer - Staff Writer
Son, best friend, godfather, Marine. Honorable, handsome, humorous, hero.
The words friends and family use to describe Sgt. David Christoff arenâ€™t enough.
â€œThereâ€™s no describing what kind of a wonderful person he was to everyone,â€ said his father, David Christoff, of Rossford.
Sgt. Christoff, 25, died in Iraq on Sunday, killed by a roadside bomb, according to friends and family.
He was a 1999 graduate of Shawnee High School. His mother and stepfather still live here.
Sgt. Christoff re-enlisted in the Marines last year and volunteered for a second tour of Iraq, said his friend Branden Skabla, who joined the Marines with him and also fought in Iraq.
During his first tour in Iraq, Skabla said Sgt. Christoff fought in the push into Fallujah.
In his recent second tour there, he saw less action. The Marines mostly did patrols and waited, Skabla said, and worried about roadside bombs. Some fellow Marines that trained with Sgt. Christoff were going to Iraq, and he wanted to join them, Skabla said.
People were forgetting the war, Sgt. Christoff told Skabla.
â€œHe never forgot about it,â€ Skabla said. â€œHe always said, â€˜If thereâ€™s a war going on, I want to be there. I want to protect my country.â€
Skabla said he will never forget the day he and Sgt. Christoff quit their constructions jobs to join the Marines after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Last August, Skabla, 25, left the Marines and joined his wife and son, now in Toledo.
He asked Sgt. Christoff, whom he considered a brother, to be the godfather to his son.
â€œHe was excited and he accepted with open arms,â€ Skabla said. â€œHe loves my son and wife like I do.â€
Skabla last saw his best friend when he was home on leave a few months ago. They went to a Super Bowl party and then to visit Sgt. Christoffâ€™s family in Rossford.
The elder David Christoff had a heart attack during that visit. Sgt. Christoff took his father to the hospital and extended his leave a few days.
His father credits that with saving his life.
â€œHe was my life,â€ father David Christoff said. â€œPart of my heart is gone and Iâ€™ll never get it back.â€
Sgt. Christoff lived every day to the fullest and died doing what he wanted to do by defending his country, his father said.
He often told his father not to believe the bad news about the war and that he saw the good occurring in Iraq.
â€œWe all slept safely every night because of what he and his warriors are doing,â€ the elder David Christoff said.
Bob Willman, former Clark-Shawnee superintendant, remembered Sgt. Christoff as well-spoken, liked and respected. It didnâ€™t surprise Willman that Sgt. Christoff joined the Marines.
â€œHe was loyal to his family, and to his classmates and to his school,â€ Willman said, â€œand obviously, to his country.â€
Sgt. Christoff last talked to his father in the middle of the night on Thursday.
They talked about the weather â€” it hit 100 degrees in Iraq â€” and sports â€” he wanted to know how LeBron James was doing in the playoffs.
â€œIt was a typical father-son chat,â€ father David Christoff said.
Words heâ€™ll cherish forever.
Marine Sgt. David R. Christoff was killed in action on 05/22/06.
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