Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ryan Bishop laid to rest

Friends and family of Ryan Alan Bishop gathered on Sunday at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church to bid a tearful goodbye to a man they described as selfless, unique and a natural-born leader.

Cpl. Bishop, a former Tyler surveyor, died on April 14. A roadside bomb in Baghdad killed him.

The 32-year old soldier was posthumously presented with the Bronze Star for excellent service in combat, the Purple Heart for wounds received during combat and the Good Conduct Medal for exemplary behavior.

"Some say the word hero is over-used. It's not today. Although Ryan would not have considered himself a hero, that's exactly what he was," Dr. Shawn Corzine said.

Family friend David Rolbiecki said Bishop called him in 2004 to tell him he wanted to join the Army.

"Ryan wanted to join the program of arms because he believed in the USA," Rolbiecki said.

Rolbiecki said Bishop began running, got in shape and joined the Army infantry in 2005, leaving at home his wife Melanie, his brother Paul, and many close family members and friends.

"When Ryan left, he was armed with the love and support of his wife, friends and family back home," Rolbiecki said.

Ryan's older brother, Paul Bishop, said Ryan was the type of guy that always knew what to say to lighten up any situation.

"He was famous at this restaurant in Euless. Every time he went in he would go to the bar. Suck the helium out of a balloon and perform the 'lollipop guild' for the weight staff," Paul said.

Melanie Bishop, Ryan's wife of two years, said Ryan was the love of her life and her best friend.

"He was the most beautiful person I ever met. It changed your life just to know him," she said.

Bishop was born in Tyler on May 2, 1974. He was a 1992 graduate of Marshall High School where he played on the 1990 State Championship football team.

He graduated in 1994 with a degree in surveying from Tyler Junior College. He worked as a surveyor for 12 years and was most recently employed by Marshall Lancaster and Associates.

Bishop attended basic training at Fort Benning, Ga., where he was awarded the excellence in marksmanship medal for shooting 40 out of 40, and setting the camp record.

He was stationed at Fort Drum, N.Y., until he was sent to Iraq in August of 2006.

"There is just nothing you can say when you lose a love so great. He was a hero. He rescued a lot of people. He rescued me. He is my hero," Melanie said.

From the Tyler Morning Telegraph

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