SPC Nickolas J Maner served in the 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, 2-30 Light Infantry Regiment, Charlie Company, 2nd Platoon. He was an Army Veteran. During his time on Active Duty, he received the following distinctions: Army Achievement Medal, NATO Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal w/Two Campaign Stars, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, and Combat Infantryman Badge.
He called Denton, NC home for many years and the last couple of years he was living in Elko, NV. He is survived by his parents, Bobby and Stephanie Maner, his brothers Bobby and Derek, and two nephews, Brayden and Kyler.
Nickolas was the youngest of 3 sons. He graduated from South Davidson High School in Denton, NC June, 2010. In June, 2010 Nickolas left NC and went to Ft. Benning, GA for his Basic Training. Once he finished, he went to Ft. Polk, LA. On 1/24/11 Nickolas was sent to Afghanistan where he spent 9 long months. I can remember our phone call…he was nervous and so was I. I made him promise me he would come home. We were there to greet him when he returned on 10/27/11. Unfortunately Nickolas didn’t return as the same young man. His temper was awful. I wouldn’t be alone with him…not that I thought he would hurt me on purpose but I worried about what to do if he had a flashback. After he got out of the Army he struggled to find his way. It’s hard watching your child struggle knowing there’s nothing you can do.
The running joke between him and me was that he was going to give me 6 granddaughters (since I had all boys) and they were all going to live with me in the big house he was going to buy for me….lol. Nickolas loved music. He use to sit on the computer for hours making tracks with his oldest brother and friends. In fact he had several music related tattoos. Nick could light up a room with his smile. And if you were lucky enough for him to like you then you were a friend for life. He wasn’t the type that had to have a lot of friends, and he was fine with that.
I remember after Nick’s funeral, some of his Army buddies came to our house and they were telling us stories about Nick. I could picture him doing the things they were telling us. I still laugh when I think of them. I appreciate those guys sharing their stories with us. One of these gentlemen gave me his Purple Heart wrapped in the 10th Mountain Badge. I tried giving it back but he told me “when one earns it we all earn it”. I placed it in a shadow box exactly how he gave it to me, and it hangs on the wall.
Nick loved his family. Even though he and his brothers would have their falling outs, they loved each other and always had each other’s backs. When Nick found out he was going to be an Uncle he was so excited!! He adored his nephew, Brayden. I wish he was here to see the newest addition to our family, Kyler. He would be so excited to have 2 nephews! Brayden remembers his Uncle Nick and told me he would make sure Kyler knew all about him.
December, 2015 a few of his military buddies flew him out to NV to help him get back on track. After a little bit Nick got a job working for the State, bought a car and was supposed to be moving into a place of his own. We thought he was doing good. Boy, he hid it well. The last time we saw Nick was in August, 2017. We went on vacation to Las Vegas, and Nickolas drove down when he got off work so we could spend some time together. He looked good and we had the best time. Never did I imagine that would be the last time I saw my son. Then in October, 2017 I received the call. My heart shattered into a million pieces. I still struggle every day. The pain of losing a child is a pain so deep….you never recover. We found out later that he had tried it before….we didn’t know.
I spoke to Nickolas a few days before this. His oldest brother spoke to him the night before. We didn’t pick up on anything. We found out he was actually living in a motel and that’s where he took his life. When I checked his email I saw that he was trying to transfer back to NC…..I wish I had known. We would’ve flown him home if he really wanted to come back. The what if’s are hard to let go of. I will always wonder what I missed. His death has left a hole in this family.
Nick’s death put me on a new path. I got involved with TAPS and I am now a mentor. I try to do what I can to bring as much awareness to this awful epidemic. I feel this is my new mission. I promised Nick that he would never be forgotten and I would make him proud of me.
The last selfish act Nickolas did was donate his organs.
Nicks final resting place is at the Salisbury National Cemetery in Salisbury, NC.
#22TooMany #OurHeroes are #NeverForgotten