CONROE — Family and friends on Monday remembered U.S. Army Sgt. Ryan Patrick Green as a Christian man with an infectious enthusiasm for life and a patriotic spirit.
Those who shared their stories during Green’s funeral service at The Ark Family Church said the young soldier lived an honorable life, one that inspired others to follow his example.
Green, 24, died on March 18 in Landstuhl, Germany, from injuries he suffered when an explosive device went off near his unit during combat patrol on March 15 in Baghdad.
The soldier was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood.
U.S. Army Gen. Russell Czerw, who did not know the soldier but spoke on behalf of his unit, said Green’s courage and loyalty set him apart from other soldiers. His fellow soldiers said he was a natural leader and a teammate who put service above self, Czerw said.
Green’s parents, Craig and Lynda Kagan, were presented with their son’s military medals: the Bronze Star, the fourth-highest medal for bravery and heroism; the Purple Heart; the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; and the Iraqi Campaign Medal.
The service was more of a celebration of Green’s life than a mournful remembrance. Family and friends were given a yellow ribbon to pin on their clothing in honor of Green. They also were entertained with readings from Green’s letters to his parents and a viewing of a video photo album, capturing Green from toddler to adult.
The music seemed to reflect Green’s beliefs and character. The service opened with Lee Greenwood’s Proud to be an American and closed with Toby Keith’s American Soldier.
During remarks, family friend Mike Stone recalled a young man who wore mismatched Converse tennis shoes and ”loved Jesus Christ with all his heart and was full of life.”
Stone said Green had a knack for touching people’s lives. He recalled a ministry trip to Mexico and how Green would walk through the village streets handing out Bibles and would pray with the people even though he did not speak Spanish. Stone said Green made an impression on his own 16-year-old son, who now embodies Green’s qualities.
Stone also remembered when Green enlisted in the Army the day after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
”He was so bold and so sure this is what God wanted him to do,” Stone said. “That was just Ryan.”
Alan Clayton, senior pastor of The Ark Family Church, reminded mourners that Green’s commitment to serving his country was a selfless act.
Green set an example for others to take up a cause bigger than themselves, to face challenges with courage and to sacrifice personal comfort, Clayton said.
”We owe a debt of honor to Ryan Green,” Clayton said.
This is at Houston National Cemetery:
ARMY Spc. Alberto Guerrero, left, and Sgt. 1st Class John Shatto pay a final tribute to Sgt. Ryan Patrick Green of Conroe during services Monday at Houston National Cemetery. Green, 24, assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, was killed March 15 in Baghdad by an explosive device. Green, who was awarded the Bronze Star, was Guerrero’s squad leader.
This is his MySpace.
TRIPLES with EMMA