Officers stand at attention as the casket of Ryan Rawl is brought to Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church.
Lexington, SC (WLTX) - Hundreds honored fallen soldier and Richland County Deputy Ryan Rawl Saturday, who was killed while serving in Afghanistan.
People lined the streets leading up to Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church waving flags and saluting for the fallen soldier. Inside the sanctuary, his friends and family paid tribute to his life and service.
"It's an unfortunate thing that we have to be out here today, but we are glad to do it," said Herb Mease, one of those who chose to come out and be part of the ceremony.
Rawl, a 1st Lieutenant in the guard, was one of three guardsmen killed in a suicide bomber attack earlier in the month. Sergeant John Meador of Columbia and Sgt. First Class Matthew Thomas of Easley were also lost. The men were serving with the 133rd Military Police Co., based in Timmonsville.
Meador was buried Saturday at Fort Jackson National Cemetery.
Rawl had served with the Richland County Sheriff's Department since 2005.
"This group of people are their for our benefit and to help us and we want this family to know that we love theirs even if we don't know them well," said Joy Grimsley.
It really hit home for Grimsley when she found out two of our Midlands soldiers were killed.
"Its more like your own child, you know it touches, the life of one there touches the life of everyone here even though they don't recognize it," said Grimsley.
For Patriot Guard members like retired Marine Herb Mease, "Its unfortunate I have been to a lot of events like this," said Mease.
He stands proud in the almost unbearable heat for those who never made it back to their loved ones.
"To show our support for the families."
Many say it tells a lot about Rawl's character to have served as a deputy at home and a soldier fighting for our contry thousands of miles away.
"That's what its all about and show support for those who gave all, you cant give more than your life, so giving all deserves honor and respect," said Renee Kaur. "God bless all the soldiers from South Caorlina, God is watching over you guys. I am so proud to stand here and pay respect to this wonderful young man who gave his life for us."