Reader's Comments

Janna Stafford     Shannon, MS
Ms. Donna-
My husband, Michael Stafford, and I were invited to the Gold Star Mothers' convention at Lochinvar in April.  It was so nice to meet everyone and to hear the stories of your children's bravery.  Thank you so much for honoring my husband at your meeting.  Thank you, Lucas, for the sacrifice you made for our country.  You will never be forgotten.


Pam Presley Cousar     New Albany MS
Thank you so much Lucas for your service ... Such great Men !

Doris Mitchell    Amory, MS
Your story was very moving.What an inspiration you are to other Moms. Thank you to your son for his service to this country. May God Bless you.

Becky Lambert     New Site, MS
Thank you, Lucas, for your service, and for the giving the ones at home safety and freedom.  You will not ever be forgotten! Semper Fi., Marine!  Donna, you are always in my heart for the love and commitment to make sure all our HEROES are not forgotten.  I will not ever forget our first phone conversation!  Love you!

Jill Self     Pontotoc MS
Thanks for everything!!

Patricia Freeman     Caledonia MS
Thank you Lucas for our freedoms. Thank you Donna for being such an inspiration to all us Gold Star Mother's. Love you.

The Messenger (part 1 of today's tribute)
Marine Lance Corporal Marc Lucas Tucker
Pontotoc, MS
Died June 8, 2005 in Iraq

This post entitled "The Messenger" is the first in a 2-part post for today. Both posts are in honor of Marine Lance Corporal Lucas Tucker. This post tells the story of how his mother Donna Bagwell has taken her son's sacrifice as an opportunity to serve other moms facing the same circumstance.

Donna Bagwell is a messenger. She delivers mail in Pontotoc. Her dusty gold Jeep Cherokee moves quickly from mailbox to mailbox. But even as Donna delivers the mail, she is delivering a message all her own. That message is found on her license plate. A small gold star sits beside the famous cry of the Marine Corps, “OORAH”, spelled out in capital letters. It is an obvious message to anyone who might get stuck behind her. The driver of this vehicle loves the Marines.

But the real message is even deeper than that. The real message is that Donna Bagwell loves a Marine. Because Donna isn’t just a messenger. Donna is a mother. The mother of Marine Lance Corporal Marc Lucas Tucker.

Lance Corporal Marc Lucas Tucker loved to ride in dusty vehicles as well. His route didn’t carry him through the rural roads of Pontotoc. His route was through the war torn stretches of Iraq. His ride was a Humvee. Most days his patrol was quite ordinary, almost like delivering mail. He moved from post to post, doing his duty.

But late in the evening of June 8, 2005 his vehicle hit a large hole in the roadway. The crater was made by an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) that had exploded long before. The hole simply hadn’t been repaired.  The accident that resulted claimed Lucas’ young life. He died of massive trauma to the head. 

When the news of Lucas’ death made it back to Pontotoc, it was the hardest message anyone had ever delivered to Donna. She still recalls to this day the moment when she heard the knock on her door. It was the single most devastating moment of her life. She felt helpless. She felt crushed. She felt alone.

Since that moment, though, Donna has taken on a new mission. It might even be more accurate to say “because of that moment” Donna has taken on a new mission. Barely five weeks after she buried her son Lucas, Pontotoc received news that another local son had died in Iraq. Marine Corporal Clifton Blake Mounce was killed when the vehicle he was riding in was hit by an IED. Even though Donna did not know the soldier’s mother very well, she knew exactly what she had to do. She may not know the person, but she definitely knew the pain. And there was no way Donna was going to allow another mother so close by to suffer through it alone.

In that encounter between Donna Bagwell, mother of Marine Lance Corporal Lucas Tucker, and Pat Mounce, mother of Marine Lance Corporal Blake Mounce, Donna began the healing process. In the midst of being a messenger of mercy to another hurting mom, she discovered that her own heart began to heal. It wasn’t that the pain was easing up. It’s that the pain had connected with a purpose: to ease the pain of other mothers of fallen soldiers as much as possible by simply being there for them. Because as Donna Bagwell knows, there is no pain quite like losing a child.

Donna’s passion for hurting mothers led her to launch the Mississippi Chapter of Gold Star Moms. She serves as the President. It wasn’t a position she pursued. The group elected her because in so many of their circumstances, she was the first one to reach out. Their admiration for her mercy is obvious. She is their leader. And whenever a military messenger knocks on the door of a Mississippi home to deliver that life devastating message, Donna Bagwell is not too far behind to put her arms around the mother just to let her know that she is not alone.

Seven years ago this week – June 8, 2005 – Marine Lance Corporal Lucas Tucker gave his life in service to his country. Every day since, his mother has offered her service. And like her son, Donna goes about it with a Marine mentality. Semper Fi. Always Faithful.

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Marine Lance Corporal Lucas Tucker was a very devoted soldier and son. He is one of four young men from Pontotoc, MS to die in Iraq since 2005.

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