Terminally Ill 12-Year-Old Becomes Honorary Marine

Every now and then a story pops up on my Facebook news feed that is meant to inspire and motivate. After seeing this story and doing a little research, it warmed my heart to learn it was true.

Cody Green, a 12-year-old boy from Indiana, passed away this year due to complications from cancer. Cody was diagnosed as a toddler and battled the disease three times before passing away from an infection this spring. Young as he was, Cody was a staunch lover of his country and the military that served it, especially the US Marines.

When local Marines heard of Cody's cancer battle they planned to honor him by giving him a complete color guard ceremony.

"They decided Cody, with the strength and honor and courage he showed through the whole thing, he should be a Marine," Cody's father, David Snowberger, told news outlets. "'He's fought as hard as any Marine has and because of that we are going to honor him.'"

Unfortunately, Cody's condition was too weakened to attend the ceremony after recovering from a stem cell transplant in March.

In the short month that followed the twelve-year old's condition worsened and his family knew the end was near. The family reached let the local Marines know and 39-year-old Sgt Mark Dolfini, a former Marine who heard about the situation through a co-worker, raced to the hospital to be with Cody and his family. Although Cody was on a ventilator, Sgt. Dolfini presented the boy with a flag and Marine navigator wings. The family is convinced Cody was aware of the action even though he was not responsive. The Sergeant then stood post outside Cody's door, planning on staying until the end. He stood there for eight hours straight until Cody passed away the next morning.

Originally Sgt Dolfini didn't want to go public with what he did as he feared it would take away from Cody's story ... but he knew he was meant to guard the little boy's door because it was what he deserved. He was quoted saying, "There was no question that was my calling that night."

Cody was described as a witty, funny kid who was always looking out for others, constantly thanking. His battle with cancer showed what amazing strength and conviction he possessed. And because of the kindness of strangers he and his family had some extra comfort during his last hours.

"Marines don't do this sort of thing for acclaim," said Sgt. Dolfini. "That's not how we're wired. We didn't join the Marine Corps to be rich, we didn't join it for fame, you don't do it for that reason. If we all did something like [visiting Cody] once a day, or just something small, just think of what an incredible legacy that would leave for Cody."

A memorial service was held at Cody's elementary school where the Marines gave him a fully military funeral with a color guard, tap and a 21-gun salute. Sgt Dolfini was in attendance and saluted Cody's coffin as a final goodbye. Since the funeral he has stayed in touch with the Green family and plans to continue to do so.

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