CEDAR RAPIDS — News that President Barack Obama signed legislation naming the downtown Cedar Rapids Post Office for her son who was killed in Afghanistan nearly five years ago was “kind of overwhelming,” Mary Pasker said Monday afternoon.

“He really gave himself, I would say, for protecting our country and our family, and we couldn’t be more proud of him,” Pasker said about her son, Terryl, a Cedar Rapids carpenter who was killed while serving with the Iowa Army National Guard in Afghanistan.

“We’re very proud of what he did,” she said, because her son voluntarily extended his second tour of duty in Afghanistan for an extra year. He was killed July 9, 2011, just days before his combat tour was scheduled to end.

As a result of the legislation sponsored by Rep. Rod Blum, who represents the 1st district that includes Cedar Rapids, and Sen. Joni Ernst, the post office will be designated the “Sergeant First Class Terryl L. Pasker Post Office Building” later this summer.

“Renaming this postal facility after Sgt. Pasker will serve as a permanent reminder of the sacrifice he made on behalf of our country, as well as honoring all those who have served the United States in the armed forces,” Rep. Blum said.

He and Ernst were joined by Sen. Chuck Grassley and Reps. Dave Loebsack, David Young and Steve King as co-sponsors.

Blum anticipates a naming ceremony this summer at which time a plaque “that honors the life of Sgt. Pasker and the sacrifices made by the entire Pasker family” will be placed in the post office lobby, Blum said. He can be seen speaking on the House floor about Pasker at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQ2aFhuvisE.

Ernst, who also serves in the Iowa Army National Guard, said Pasker “made the ultimate sacrifice … in defense of our freedoms.”

“While we can never thank him and his family enough for his service, I am proud that our community will be able to recognize his heroism with this tribute to him,” Ernst said, adding her appreciation that Obama signed the bill.

Naming the building for Pasker will “ensure Sgt. 1st Class Pasker and his family receives the recognition he deserves,” Ernst said. Her remarks about Pasker during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee meeting in May can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QT0haunUIzA&feature=youtu.be&t=59.

Pasker, an Anamosa native, enlisted in the Army in 1990 and joined the National Guard in 1995. He was first deployed to Afghanistan from 2004-05 and chose to return in 2011 with the 334th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division.

Pasker, who was 39 at the time, was going through a routine security checkpoint in Panjshir province, Afghanistan, in an armored vehicle when an Afghan National Directorate security officer attacked with small-arms fire, according the Iowa National Guard. Pasker and an American civilian law enforcement contractor who was with him in the vehicle were killed.

Pasker’s father, David, called the naming “appropriate because Terry dedicated his life to the defense of his country and to serving his Lord Jesus. Because of those two dedications, God has seen fit to honor Terry in this physical Earth in this way,”

Pasker, who had a contracting business in Cedar Rapids, is survived by his wife, Erica; parents, Mary and David of Blairstown; a brother, Andrew; and two sisters, Christine and Rebecca.

FYI

When legislation is enacted designating a post office to honor a person, the Postal Service will display a plaque in a prominent, well-secured place within the lobby of the building.

No change in signage is required and, for operational reasons, the post office will retain its geographical designations in the USPS addressing system.

There is not a separate list of named post offices that could be consulted to determine which post offices have been named in law.

The congressional office that introduced the bill drives the “recognition” and the ceremonial events that encompasses it. The Cedar Rapids Post Office will host the plaque unveiling.

Source: Twana Barber, U.S. Postal Service corporate communications