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Wendy Reuer, Published August 24 2010

North Dakota soldier dies in Texas motorcycle crash

A North Dakota soldier was killed Thursday in a motorcycle accident in Texas.

Spc. Eric D. Spurgeon, 21, served as a member of Company E, 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery, 11th ADA Brigade at Fort Bliss, Texas.

The North Dakota National Guard said Spurgeon had returned from deployment to Qatar in March.

Spurgeon is the son of Lori and James Cookman, of Buffalo, N.D., and Duke Spurgeon of Miami, Okla.

Friends and family are mourning the loss of Spurgeon, who they described as fun-loving.

“He was our hero,” Lori Cookman says in a statement released by the Guard. “He will be missed every day. The sun is not quite as bright anymore.”

Spurgeon, a 2007 Maple Valley High School graduate, in Tower City, N.D., joined the U.S. Army basic training program shortly after graduation.

The Rev. Cathy Hedmark of Buffalo Lutheran Church knew Spurgeon since he was in junior high school.

“Of course it was a shock to all of us. We kept waiting to hear it was a joke,” Hedmark said of hearing the news Spurgeon had died. “Eric was full of life. He had a great heart and was warm with people.”

A Facebook group has been created by close friends of Spurgeon, titled, “Honoring Eric Spurgeon.”

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530