Well, today is going to suck. I'll be attending funeral services for a great soldier, outstanding fireman, and a good guy. Say a prayer for Todd and his family, if you can guys. Todd Venette Todd James Venette, 35, left this life Saturday, May 7, 2005, in Baghdad, Iraq, when two suicide bombers driving cars packed with explosives rammed into his U.S. security convoy on a bustling downtown Baghdad street. Venette, who would certainly ask you to call him Todd, was a resident of Russellville for the past few years. He is the son of Debby and Dennis Casida of White Hall and Paul and Anita Venette of Brighton, Colo. Todd was born March 7, 1970, in Boulder, Colo., and grew up in Lafayette and Louisville, Colo. Starting in the early 1990s, Todd served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps in some of the most dangerous parts of Africa. After that stint in the military, he moved to Arkansas to join the Russellville Fire Department and volunteered as a Deputy Sheriff. Todd was fearless and selfless in every aspect of his life, from his days as a firefighter, EMT, wrestler and lover of street hockey, to the time he devoted to helping kids in the community. Upon moving to Arkansas and learning that no area school offered collegiate level wrestling, he and some friends started a competitive wrestling program at the Boys and Girls Club. He was a natural, compassionate leader and others followed him in work and play. When the war in Iraq started, Todd re-enlisted with the Marine Reserves and served his country again in combat. When his service was up, he joined one of the most respected protective services companies in the world, Fayetteville, North Carolina’s CTU Consulting. CTU was founded and led by former Delta Force Operator Don Feeney. Quite simply, Todd Venette was loved and respected by some of the most elite soldiers in the world. He was a good man who loved his country, his family, his friends and his God. In addition to his parents, Todd is survived by his brother, Navy Lt. Chad Venette of Whidbey Island, Wash.; his sister, Gina Casida and her fiancé, Gordon Goolsby, of Redfield; his paternal grandmother, Toots Venette of Louisville, Colo.; and his maternal grandparents, Jim and Ruby Graham of Russellville. A memorial service with full honors by the Sheriff’s Honor Guard will be conducted at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the First Assembly of God in Russellville. Police Chaplain Paul Northcut, Pastor Wayne Drain, and Pastor Shane Casper will officiate. Service arrangements are under the direction of Shinn Funeral Service of Russellville. Pallbearers include: Active — Members of the Russellville Fire Department, Mark Signor, Charlie Austin, James Pipes, Ed Lloyd, Brent Hamm, Kurt McBryde and Kyle Green. Honorary — The remainder of the Russellville Fire Department; members of the Pope County Emergency Medical Services; the Pope County Sheriffs Department; the Russellville Police Department; and the Wild Pigs Motorcycle Club, Razorback Chapter. Friends may pay their respects at the funeral home from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to the Cross and Shield Ministries, in care of the Rev. Paul Northcut, Post Office Box 3256, Russellville, Arkansas 72811-3256.