Family mourns fallen soldier - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Family mourns fallen soldier

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July 10, 2010 - Newport, Vermont

Family members of Specialist Ryan Grady are talking about their fallen hero.

The Vermont National guard soldier was killed in Afghanistan just over a week ago. Ryan Grady's aunt and uncle, Sandra and Tom Grady live in Newport, Vermont and say they received the news of his death last Friday. 

Grady was killed by a roadside bomb while serving in Afghanistan. His brother was serving with him and saw him the morning he was killed. This was Grady's third tour overseas with the Guard. Family members say serving in the military was something he wanted to do his whole life. Grady's Family has a long line of military service and he jumped at the chance to join at age 17.

Sandra Grady recalled how she first heard the bad news from her husband. "He goes, 'I've got some bad news.' I go, 'what's that?' He tells me Ryan is gone -- he died this morning of an explosion. And I said, 'no, no -- you can't be telling me the truth.' They (Ryan and his brother) had breakfast together at 5 o'clock. They talked about good times and what they were planning on doing when they got back. He wanted to be like his dad. He looked up to his dad and he wanted to be exactly like his dad."

"He loved his job and he loved wearing that uniform. He liked being in the Vermont National Guard. That was his big dream growing up," Tom Grady said.

Grady leaves behind a six-year-old daughter and his aunt and uncle say she is in disbelief. "She doesn't realize he's not coming home. They told her, but she still thinks he's coming home." Sandra Grady said.

"He didn't have to go back. He had his daughter to take care of. He volunteered to go back because he wanted to save up money and buy a home for he and Lexi. That's the only reason he went back." Tom Grady said.

Grady came home for 15 days before he was re-deployed and his family did have a chance to say goodbye -- something they hope everyone does before sending off a loved one overseas.

Sandra Grady offered this advice to other family members of the deployed: "When you send your family off, make sure that you give them a hug. Tell them you love them. That's one thing I'm hoping everybody does. When they have someone coming home that they give him a big hug and say I love you before they go, Because you never know what's going to happen."

Grady will be buried alongside other family members this week. Calling hours will be Friday night from 5 to 8 at the North Congregational Church on Main Street in St. Johnsbury. A funeral service will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at the North Congregational Church.

Molly Smith - WCAX News

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