Rebecca Fuller (left) with her sister, Jenny Francis, visited a StoryCorps booth in Portland, Maine.
Travis Fuller holding his niece Ruby, Jenny's daughter, in June 2004.
Travis Fuller holding his niece Ruby, Jenny's daughter, in June 2004. StoryCorps
Two years ago today, First Lt. Travis John Fuller and 30 others were killed in Iraq when their helicopter crashed in a sandstorm.
His big sisters remember Travis as "the little guy" — at 5 feet 7 inches tall, Fuller would often seem much smaller than his fellow Marines. But he left a big impression on his family, and on the people he knew.
And Travis Fuller knew quite a few people. No matter where Fuller was, "he would have a friend in minutes," says Rebecca Fuller. Like on his graduation day, when Travis made sure to introduce his parents to the janitor and the cooks at his school.
"He took the time to notice the people around him," Rebecca says.
But it was a surprise when Travis came home one day with pamphlets from the Marine Corps. It turned out that he had enlisted. And, Rebecca admits, "I just gave him a real hard time about it." Travis ran from the room. Soon after, his sister followed him, and apologized.
She says that once she realized how important it was to Travis, Rebecca told him that despite her feelings, "I'm still going to love him, and be proud of him."
Travis, who was 26 at the time of his death, grew up with his sisters in Granville, Mass.
The day she learned of her brother's death, Jenny Francis says, "It was probably the worst day of my life."
The two sisters and their parents sat and talked about their loss. And Rebecca realized that her family fit into the small space they were sitting in — and that Travis wouldn't be helping to make their family bigger.
"Everyone fit into that room," she says, "and it was so small."
Produced for 'Morning Edition' by Michael Garofalo. The senior producer for StoryCorps is Sarah Kramer.