Staff Sgt. Lucas James Opuda

April 4, 2014

Staff Sgt. Lucas James Opuda, 27, of Girardville, passed away unexpectedly Friday, shortly after arriving at Schuylkill Medical Center-South Jackson Street.

Born in Pottsville, he was a son of John J. and Ruth Ann Kennedy Opuda, Girardville.

Luke was a 2005 graduate of Cardinal Brennan High School. He served as a section leader for the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.

SSG Opuda first was mobilized to Louisiana to aide in the relief efforts of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He then served our country from 2008 to 2009 after being mobilized as a Cavalry Scout and Gunner for his unit, Alpha Troop 2-104 Cavalry Squadron, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, serving in the 56th SBCT. From 2012 to 2013, SSG Opuda was mobilized as a security team leader for ISAF in the United States Corps. of Engineers during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

During his two deployments, he was awarded the Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal (2nd Award), Army Good Conduct Medal, Combat Action Badge, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Noncomissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, PA National Guard General Thomas R. White Ribbon and the PA National Guard General Thomas J. Stewart Ribbon.

Luke was not only a great son, brother and friend, but a true hero and soldier.

He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, John and Wanda Opuda; his maternal grandparents, Thomas and Jennie Kennedy; and his uncle, Jim "Cruncher" Kennedy.

In addition to his parents, he is survived by a brother, Jacob Thomas Opuda; sister, Jennifer Marie Opuda; and his "Nana" Catherine Houser, all of Girardville. Luke is also survived by aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and his military family.

Friends may call from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday at Thomas M. Sullivan Funeral Home, Girardville. Funeral services with full military honors will be held at 12:30 p.m. with Chaplain (Maj.) Schaun Myers officiating. Interment will follow in Indiantown Gap National Cemetery, Annville. In lieu of flowers, the family prefers contributions, in Luke's name, be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675-8517. Forms will be available at the funeral home. To sign the guest book, leave personal condolences and for further information, please visit Thomas M. Sullivan Funeral Home, Girardville, Timothy M. Sullivan, supervisor, is in charge of the arrangements.

Published in Republican & Herald from Apr. 6 to Apr. 8, 2014