Paul Lucian Wedgewood, simply known as “Wedge” to many, touched many lives in his short 25 years. The first thing you would notice about Paul was his big smile, then second his big ears, probably. He was a friend and man that would help anyone, anywhere, anytime. Paul passed away on Tuesday, Aug. 23 in Fort Collins. He took his own life after several years of being haunted by his experiences as a Marine in Afghanistan.
Paul was born on Nov. 2, 1990, a month early. He always did things on his own time. Early on he made it clear he did not want to have his feet covered by socks or shoes or anything, and as an adult you could see him going around Fort Collins in the Colorado winter, in nothing but flip flops, on his way to or from classes. Otherwise he was a happy and engaging child. He enjoyed reading and video games, biking and skateboarding, and anything having to do with the water. Paul began to swim competitively at the age of 5, and continued through high school until an injury prevented him from continuing. Along the way he achieved many local, state and regional level awards – wanting one day to swim in the Olympics. Once he could no longer swim, he switched to football. He spent his grade school years in Wisconsin and grew up an avid Green Bay Packers fan. He attended and graduated high school in the Colorado Springs area.
After high school, Paul joined the United States Marine Corp. When asked why he chose the Marines, he would tell you because they were the toughest and the best. He never regretted that decision. The discipline and patriotism he learned in the Marines never left him, as friends and family will attest. Paul served his country as a Marine from 2009-2013 with the 3rd Battalion 5th Marines India Company in the Infantry as a mortarman. He spent six months in Afghanistan in the Sangin area of the Helmand Province during some of most brutal activity in recent history as part of Operation Enduring Freedom (to know more about this time the book “One Million Steps” by Bing West is recommended). He followed this with a deployment on the USS Green Bay – which he found amusing since he spent many years living in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He achieved Expert Rifle Qualification three times. During his service he received many commendations for his dedication and bravery including the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon (Afghanistan), Navy Unit Commendation, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one Star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal (USS Peleliu), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, two Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, and the NATO Medal ISAF Afghanistan.
Unfortunately, like so many of our veterans, Paul struggled with post traumatic stress disorder and alcohol use. He was actively supported by and engaged with family and friends, and medical and psychological professional services. Despite all his resources, he was tired and took his own life.
He is survived by his parents, John and Helen Wedgwood, and his brother, Adam Wedgewood. Other survivors include grandparents, Horst “Dutch” and Antonia Clos of Apache Junction, AZ , and grandmother Mary “Fran” Wedgewood of Chicago, IL, and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his grandfather, Gordon “Wedge” Wedgewood.
Paul worked for CSU’s Facilities Management department at the time of his passing.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 2 at the Veterans Plaza in the Spring Canyon Park in Fort Collins. After the service, all are invited to stay for a celebration of his life.
In lieu of flowers, we ask that you support one of the following organizations:
Elder Heart is the 501C3 behind Mission 22. It is comprised of Delta Force and Special Forces operators Tom Spooner, Magnus Johnson, and Mike Kissel. Because of their personal battles with post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury they have made it their mission to raise awareness, enlist support, and end veteran suicide in America. http://www.mission22.com/#ourcause
The Semper Fi Fund provides immediate financial assistance and lifetime support to post-9/11 wounded, critically ill and injured members of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, and their families, ensuring that they have the resources they need during their recovery and transition back to their communities. https://semperfifund.org/
Speak Up will provide education and awareness in our community bridging the gaps between community, schools and parents. We want to encourage open conversations with our children and educate our community about the different signs of children who may be at risk. We hope that you will join our fight and pledge to end the stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide. http://www.speakup.us/
Beaux Mettler Foundation: Providing technology for children while in the hospital to help them continue their education, connect with family and friends, and to provide comfort while they undergo medical procedures. Offering financial support to struggling families with medical needs in our community. Providing scholarships, access to innovative technology, and financial assistance to support students. https://sites.google.com/site/dwbtestsite2/home