Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Community remembers soldier who loved to be in worship
B P NEWS ^ | Aug 11, 2004 | Cameron Crabtree

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 Iraq’s 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. Kelly’s 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 Kelly’s 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 don’t have to. You couldn’t ask for a better son.”

Swartz agreed with the father’s assessment: “I couldn’t find anyone in this town who would have a bad thing to say about Bryan.”

Kelly was active in the church’s 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. “He’d tell his mom, ‘I can feel the prayers. Keep praying.’

“When I would talk to him he’d 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 culture’s 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, I’d 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 I’ve had my moments of anxiety, but I’m 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 that’s 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 church’s regular activities, so the impact of Kelly’s death is felt by everyone, the pastor noted. “I imagine we’ll 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.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; US: Oregon
KEYWORDS: fallen; marine; marines

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

1 posted on 08/11/2004 9:31:52 PM PDT by Dubya
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: TruthNtegrity

<>< This young man is worshipping in a most amazing way right the throne of Christ.<><

2 posted on 08/11/2004 9:41:04 PM PDT by mrs tiggywinkle (AMERICA, LAND OF THE FREE **BECAUSE** OF THE BRAVE.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Dubya

May Bryan rest in peace and may God comfort his family. Thanks for the post Dubya.

3 posted on 08/11/2004 9:46:45 PM PDT by Heinz 57 (Yes I'm Mixed Breed but not mixed up. I am all AMERICAN and proud of it. God, I love this country)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Dubya

Thank you Bryan Kelly.God holds you now.

4 posted on 08/11/2004 9:50:33 PM PDT by fatima (My Granddaughter Karen is Home-WOOHOO We unite with all our troops and send our love-)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Dubya

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.

5 posted on 08/11/2004 9:57:32 PM PDT by everyvotecounts
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: everyvotecounts

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.

6 posted on 08/11/2004 10:01:04 PM PDT by Dubya (Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,but by me)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Dubya

Will do and thank you for posting this article about Bryan.

7 posted on 08/11/2004 10:07:54 PM PDT by everyvotecounts
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Dubya

"When the saint goes marching in......."

8 posted on 08/11/2004 10:52:35 PM PDT by taxesareforever
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Dubya
Always in awe of these courageous young men (and women) who volunteer for duty to protect me.

Thanks from a grateful American.

Prayers for his family and fiance.

He is with the Lord.

9 posted on 08/12/2004 9:16:58 AM PDT by happygrl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: xzins


10 posted on 08/12/2004 9:19:24 AM PDT by opus86
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mrs tiggywinkle

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.

11 posted on 08/12/2004 10:11:25 AM PDT by TruthNtegrity ("No man works harder for his money than he who marries it.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: everyvotecounts

Thank you for your son's service to our Country.

They are all warrior heroes and I pray for them everyday.

12 posted on 08/12/2004 10:12:32 AM PDT by TruthNtegrity ("No man works harder for his money than he who marries it.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Dubya; opus86; VaBthang4; 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; TEXOKIE

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.

13 posted on 08/12/2004 10:43:17 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army and Supporting Bush/Cheney 2004!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TruthNtegrity

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.

14 posted on 08/12/2004 11:00:09 AM PDT by everyvotecounts
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson