Another Soldier Down (and a Small, Good Thing You Can Do):
With the ongoing nega-Surge by militias in Iraq, the U.S. casualty rate has jumped back to a "Tell us about that success again, Mr. President" level. Thus there will be more and more stories about the soldiers who have fallen. So let us pause to remember one here.

You may hear a lot about Darren Dhanoolal over the next few days. That's because his widow, Kynesha, wants to harvest his sperm before his body is embalmed. They were planning on having kids; Kynesha even got fibroid tumors removed from her uterus in a November operation. Darren was supposed to come back to Columbus, Georgia in three weeks to start a family.

Beyond what might turn into a bizarre custody battle played out in the media, Dhanoolal was on his second tour in Iraq, a combat engineer in the 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment out of Fort Benning. He was an immigrant, born in Trinidad, and he came to New York when he was 15, in 1997, attending high school in Staten Island and college in Brooklyn. He joined the Army in 2002. And last week an IED ripped through his vehicle and killed him. He was the twenty-fifth soldier from his brigade to be killed since March 2007.

Three hours before he died, Darren sent a text message to Kynesha, who hadn't heard from him in a few days, reading, "I’m OK, I’ve just been real busy. I love you." It's amazing sometimes the way real-life tragedies mirror the plot trajectory of seemingly fictional ones.

To add to that observation: One of Darren's sisters is on her fourth tour in Iraq. Kynesha's got a brother stationed in Afghanistan. This is a family that is enmeshed in our current history.

To honor Dhanoolal, someone very dear to this blogger is dedicating a day of volunteer work for New York Cares to Dhanoolal. It's part of this coming Saturday's Hands On New York Day. Her team is going to be doing some painting at a homeless shelter and day care in Brooklyn. It's called Urban Strategies.

And this friend of another of Dhanoolal's sisters is also raising money to send Dhanoolal's unit a care package as part of the volunteer work. Yes, she has surpassed her modest initial goal of $100. But that's not even enough to cover postage or coffee for the volunteers.

You can donate any amount by clicking over to her page at Hands On New York Day. Even a couple of bucks matter.

It's a small thing, yes, but here in Left Blogsylvania, we can pause amid our ongoing turmoil to pay a respect or two.

Once again, click here to donate.