Skip to comments.Community remembers soldier who loved to be in worship
Posted on 08/11/2004 9:31:51 PM PDT by Dubya
KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (BP)--As flags at public buildings in Oregon were lowered to half-staff in mid-July, prayers at Suburban Heights Baptist Church in Klamath Falls were raised to honor Lance Cpl. Bryan P. Kelly, who died July 16 from wounds sustained by an explosion in Iraqs Al Anbar Province.
The 21-year-old Marine was the son of Patrick and Joanie Kelly. Patrick Kelly, recently retired from the Klamath Falls police department, is the worship leader and a deacon at the Klamath Falls church.
Lance Cpl. Kellys bravery, commitment and sacrifice will not be forgotten, Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski said in a public statement. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the many other families who still have loved ones away at war.
Kelly had six weeks remaining on his second tour of duty in Iraq as a combat engineer. Working near Baghdad, Kelly and his fellow Marines routinely patrolled the roads and detonated hidden ordnance caches.
The soldier, who planned to marry his fiancé this November, is among more than 900 Americans killed during military operations in the country.
The Defense Department did not release any details about Kellys death, only that it stemmed from injuries received from enemy action.
This was just an exceptional young man, said Pastor Bill Swartz. The first day he accepted Jesus Christ, when he was 14, he went and got his best friend and shared with him and he accepted the Lord. Every one of the girls he dated, he led to Christ.
Families in these circumstances tend to make saints of their kids, Patrick Kelly told the Klamath Falls Herald and News. We dont have to. You couldnt ask for a better son.
Swartz agreed with the fathers assessment: I couldnt find anyone in this town who would have a bad thing to say about Bryan.
Kelly was active in the churchs youth ministry and regularly attended worship services.
When he was home, he was there in the second pew, Swartz said. He loved worship.
Swartz noted that when Kelly was able to call home, he usually called about 20 minutes before church began on Sunday mornings.
He knew his mother was getting ready for worship, Swartz said. Hed tell his mom, I can feel the prayers. Keep praying.
When I would talk to him hed tell me, Pastor, I miss worship Swartz added. It was almost as if he was calling to encourage us.
Nine members of the Suburban Heights church have been part of the military campaign in Iraq. Seven of them have arrived home safely and one is still there -- Nathan Gushwa, son of High Desert Baptist Association director of missions Aaren Gushwa. Three other members of the church began basic training with the armed forces this summer.
Although young adults living in the economically stressed region find military service benefits attractive, Swartz also attributes the high number of local enlistments to the local cultures emphasis on duty, honor and traditional values.
That became evident, Swartz said, after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Following 9/11, many of our people in Klamath Falls decided that they knew what God wanted them to do, and they chose to serve their country, Swartz said.
Kelly was one among them. According to Swartz, he delayed plans to become a firefighter and joined the U.S. Marines in 2002.
I told him it was a good thing to do, Patrick Kelly told the local Herald and News. If I had it to do all over again, Id tell him the same thing.
He was very proud to be a Marine, Joanie Kelly told the newspaper. He wore his uniform with great honor.
When you watch these kids grow up and teach them all their lives that they have to trust God, you had better believe it when they make decisions [to enlist]. I admit Ive had my moments of anxiety, but Im incredibly proud of them.
Swartz praised the efforts of Suburban Heights church members as they ministered to the Kelly family during their loss.
I have the greatest respect for the people of this church who have done everything they could have to help this family, without even being asked, Swartz said. They just went and did it and thats the heart of what it means to be a family of God. When times like this come, you just are grateful.
About 100 people participate in the churchs regular activities, so the impact of Kellys death is felt by everyone, the pastor noted. I imagine well have a long process [of healing], he said.
Kelly is the second Marine from Klamath Falls killed in the region. Back in April, Lance Cpl. Gary Van Leuven also died in action in Al Anbar Province.
The Kelly family held a private graveside service July 27 and a public memorial service the next evening.
Hero in faith & patriotism
Bryan Kelly, a Marine who was killed in Iraq in mid-July, had posed with his fiancee, Katie Huntsman, before leaving for his second tour of duty in the Mideast country.
Courtesy of the Northwest Baptist Witness
<>< This young man is worshipping in a most amazing way right now...at the throne of Christ.<><
May Bryan rest in peace and may God comfort his family. Thanks for the post Dubya.
Thank you Bryan Kelly.God holds you now.
So awesome to see this story here. Bryan was one of my son's best friends. Their first tour Bryan was on my son's fire team. My son was honored and heartbroken to be the one to escort him home.
I can't say enough about Bryan. He left firefighting to join the Marines because of 9/11. He was an amazing person. His family are really good people. Katie and Bryan were to be married this November.
We will miss him greatly.
Thank you for your info. I hope your son is doing OK. Fire team members are close in the Marines. Please tell your son Semper Fi and God bless and keep him from this old Marine SGT.
Will do and thank you for posting this article about Bryan.
"When the saint goes marching in......."
Thanks from a grateful American.
Prayers for his family and fiance.
He is with the Lord.
Yes, he is. But that doesn't help the aching empty hearts of his parents.
God hold them close during this time of grieving.
Thank you, Bryan's parents, for raising such a wonderful son and for his dying that I might be free and live my life without care.
Thank you for your son's service to our Country.
They are all warrior heroes and I pray for them everyday.
May the Lord provide comfort to his family by keeping our nation focused on proving the value of the cause for which his life was required.
Thank you. These men and women who are fighting for us are truly the best of the best. I was reminded again of that at Bryan's memorial service. Their love of country is most impressive.
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