Saturday, June 02, 2007

Ryan Collins laid to rest

Several hundred local and area residents displaying American flags lined Wilbarger Street to Eastview Memorial Cemetery Tuesday afternoon in a showing of patriotism and support for hometown hero Army Cpl. Ryan Collins.

Several hundred others, including members of the Patriot Guard Riders, were waiting at the cemetery, lining the pathway to Collins' final resting place.

Collins' body arrived Saturday afternoon at Wichita Falls Municipal Airport and was accompanied by more than 100 members of the Patriot Guard, all sporting American flags. As the procession entered Wilbarger County, members of the Wilbarger County Sheriff's Department and the Vernon Police Department joined the escort to the funeral home. People along the route held American flags as a tribute to the 20-year-old who was killed in Iraq.

The church overflowed with mourners Tuesday.

Jay Hanley, minister of the Wilbarger St. Church of Christ, said, "Yesterday the nation honored those who had died for our country and today we are paying respect to one of our own, a very special young man."

Army representatives conducted a full military honors ceremony at the cemetery. A unit from Fort Hood, Texas, served as honor guard, carrying the casket from the hearse and later firing a 21-gun salute.

Maj. Gen. David C. Ralston of Fort Sill, Okla., presented Collins' mother with the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart in Collins' honor. She was also presented with the folded American flag that had covered her son's casket.

Members of the Texas Youth Commission presented the family with plaques honoring their son.

People who knew Collins characterized him as a loving, giving young man. He was killed in action May 18 in Iraq. He had been promoted to the rank of corporal May 1, but his family only learned of the promotion a few days ago.

Collins was supposed to have come home on leave earlier, but he gave up his time so that a fellow soldier could come home to see his new baby. Those who knew him best said that is just the kind of fellow he was.

Collins loved the children in Iraq and told several people that the children were the reason that he and the others were over there. He loved his job and planned to make it his lifetime career, according to Hanley.

Collins is the son of Danita and David Logsdon of Vernon and Lynn Collins of Flower Mound, Texas. Logsdon said in a previous interview that "he is our son, now and forever, he is our son."

Fromt the Times Record

Related Link:
Ryan D. Collins dies of 'wounds suffered when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small arms fire'