Spc Brandon Keith Steffey
Born Oct. 6, 1986 in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
Died October 25, 2009 in Laghman Province Afghanistan
Specialist Brandon K. Steffey was from Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan. He came into to this world a rather large baby, so big the doctor thought that he'd just walk home with his mother. Growing up he played all kinds of sports, his favorites being baseball and hockey. He also enjoyed wrestling and over the years, as he grew, could never take down his father. Brandon was well mannered, polite, and tough with a contagious laugh that lit up those around him. In 2005 he graduated from Brimley High School and in 2006 enlisted in the United States Army, following a tradition of family military service. After basic training Brandon was able to take his dad down in wrestling; Brandon had grew into a 6' 3" and 200+ pound soldier; every inch and pound of him was soldier, so very proud of his service to his country. He was truly a "gentle giant." In 2007 he married his wife Andrea and together they had a daughter. Brandon doted on her. He served in Iraq as a gunner from May 2007 until July 2008 and was deployed to Afghanistan in June 2009, assigned to the 178th Military Police Detachment, 89th Military Police Brigade, III Corps, out of Fort Hood, Texas. Brandon was a canine tracker handler for Forward operating Base Fenty Kennel in the Laghman Province while there. He and his K-9 dog Maci were inseparable, working on tracking terrorists; Maci specialized in tracking the scents of IED making materials. She could pick this smell up on terrorists who were nowhere near bomb-making materials, it was on their bodies. Brandon died of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. His decorations and awards include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal-Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. His wife, daughter, parents and sister survive him. He is buried at Riverside Cemetery in Sault Ste. Marie. Brandon made people laugh and he made them cry. There was not one dry eye at his funeral, from every day townsfolk, to big construction workers to police officers; they all recalled Brandon, this "Gentle Giant." They want everyone to know that if you never knew Brandon, then you really missed out.