BRYAN, OH (KSNT) — Army paratrooper Pfc. Brandon Jay Kreischer died doing what he loved: serving his country.
On Saturday, family, friends and total strangers gathered in a gym at Bryan High School to say thank you and goodbye to the 20-year-old who was killed on July 29 along with Spc. Michael Isaiah Nance after suffering wounds in a combat-related incident in Tarin Kowt, in southern Afghanistan.
Last year, a similar crowd gathered in the same place to honor Kreischer when he graduated from Bryan High School.
On Saturday, they gathered as the hometown hero was laid to rest.
“He perfectly personified what it meant to be a soldier,” one person said.
“Brandon was the most proud, dedicated soldier I’ve ever met in my life. His love for his country was unmatched,” another mourner said.
Through tears, fellow soldiers and friends shared memories of Kreischer.
A favorite was this sentiment Kreischer wrote a year ago:
“If I die in the combat zone for America, I do not call it a tragedy. I call it a glory.”PFC. BRANDON JAY KREISCHER
His passion was for his country and he was not afraid to share that with others, Diana Savage said.
“He was not afraid to be outspoken about that and he wrote about this in the senior essay and little did anyone know at the time what an impact those words would have,” Savage said.
A flag line of Patriot Guard Riders from around Ohio were there to honor his sacrifice.
“I don’t know Brandon at all and I could have walked past him in the store and never known who the kid was, a young man, excuse me. But I can tell you this. He’s a brother because he’s a veteran and we stick together,” said Frank Harris.
Kreischer leaves behind a wife, a baby boy due in December along with a proud community and a lasting legacy.
Click here to read Kreischer’s obituary and offer condolences.