POUGHKEEPSIE - Over 1,000 people turned out Tuesday at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center to commemorate the life of Corey Ingram, a sailor from Poughkeepsie who died on August 21, after the collision involving his destroyer, the USS John McCain, in southeast Asia.
Those who attended the memorial service included military personnel, religious leaders and family members. The attendees all gathered to honor a life well lived.
Ingram, who died at 28 years old, served as a 1st Class Information Systems Technician in the U.S. Navy. He was a graduate of Poughkeepsie High School. Throughout the ceremony, Ingram’s sense of humor, piety, compassion and uniqueness were remembered.
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Tilli, a chaplain with the 105 Airlift Wing, New York Air National Guard based in Stewart Airport, described Ingram’s laugh as being “so loud, it shook the entire house” and called him a practical joker. Chaplain Tilli also talked about Ingram’s devotion to his faith, which was exemplified by a tattoo on his chest reading “God’s Child.”
“He knew who he was,” said Tilli, “a sailor who read the Bible and made sure a prayer of ‘thanks’ was given before every meal.”
Sailors carry Ingram's casket from the Civic Center
Dr. Ted Ingram, a college professor and Corey’s uncle, summed up his nephew’s legacy as a young African-American male who lived above stereotypes and touched everyone he met through his service around the world.
“Growing up, everyone looked to him for endless love, protection, and of course, jokes,” he said. “Corey’s heart has been celebrated across the globe.”
“It’s extremely painful when we lose a hardworking, God-fearing, young black man,” he went on to say. “He was a true pioneer by creating a path of his own.”
Performers at the ceremony were Corey’s cousin, Andrea Ingram; the worship team from Poughkeepsie’s Beth-El Church of God in Christ; and Staff Sergeant Matthew Rzomp of the New York Air National Guard, who performed both the national anthem and devotional song “On Eagle’s Wings.”
The collision of the USS John McCain is still under investigation. The ship collided with an oil tanker near Singapore on August 21. At the time, 10 soldiers including Ingram were declared missing, and five were injured. Six days after the collision, the remains of all 10 missing soldiers were recovered by U.S. Navy and Marine Corps divers.
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