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DeForest L. Talbert Obituary

DeForest L. Talbert turned his young life around in only a year, going from truant and terror on the streets to mentor and star high school running back. "Touchdown Talbert" even went on to college _ but not on free ride for football. His was a military scholarship to West Virginia State University, a world away from his upbringing by a single mother in a public housing complex. "He became one of our greatest success stories," said Monique Davis, who teaches at the alternative school that Talbert entered in his junior year. Talbert, 24, of Charleston, W.Va., died July 27 when a bomb detonated near his Humvee in Baladruc, Iraq. The National Guard member was based in Beckley, W.Va. Even while in Iraq, he thought of others. He made pen pals out of high school students and fellow soldiers because he felt badly that some of his colleagues didn''t receive any mail. He traded instant Internet messages with Frances Hamilett, his girlfriend and mother of his 3-year-old son, Deontae. "He kept saying he loved us and we would see him in August," Hamilett said.
Published online on 1/28/2005.