Last week, 2 Oct 2009, my hometown suffered a tremendous loss when one of our soldiers was killed in Afghanistan. Sgt. Ryan Adams was a soldier, a son, a brother, a classmate, a friend, and most importantly, an American hero. Our small community has gathered together to honor his memory, support his family and friends, and just mourn, grieve, and remember together.
A tragic, heroic death like this not only affects the immediate family and friends, but it also shatters a community and with our community, America grieves as well. Although some people may not have known Sgt. Ryan Adams personally, or have a thorough understanding of the military, his life and death are an inspiration to everyone. Although we are sad and may not understand this loss, do not forget how proud you are of this amazing young man and remember to take time each and every day to tell your family and friends you love them unconditionally...take time each day to enjoy life...you never know when it will be gone.
With that said, Sgt. Adams, you are a brave, amazing, inspirational young man and may you rest in peace as an American hero...you are a Hodag Hero.
SGT. Ryan C. Adams, age 26, died a hero defending our country and our freedom in Logar Province, Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom on October 2, 2009. He was born on December 7, 1982, in Brookfield, Wisconsin; the beloved son of Peter and Jalane Adams. Ryan graduated from Rhinelander High School in 2001 where he is remembered as a star quarterback, baseball player, and golfer. He proudly joined the military shortly after graduation and served his first tour of duty in Iraq in May 2003 to April 2004. He was an exceptional soldier who particularly valued his role in rebuilding the infrastructure of Iraq and loved nothing more than serving his country.
Ryan was a community and family man, treasuring the community of Rhinelander, brotherhood with his fellow soldiers, and the love of his many family members. He was most at peace spending time with friends and family and being in the outdoors while hunting, fishing, and simply celebrating life. Ryan truly loved family and friends and time spent together was precious. His compassion for others was infectious and he will be fondly remembered for his support and commitment to the Angel on My Shoulder cancer patient support program. Sadly, Ryan will never again see the land he helped keep free. We may all find peace knowing that our fallen son, brother, nephew, and friend has found heaven. With Ryan's vision of heaven, he may even now be hunting and fishing and telling stories of his time in Rhinelander.
Ryan is survived by his parents, Peter and Jalane Adams of Rhinelander; his loving sister, Amanda Adams of Rhinelander; aunts and uncles, John (Sally), Joe (Jane), Tom (Nancy), Barb (Scott), Tim (Mary), Annie (Jeff), Mary Jo (Scott), Margaret (Bill), Sue (Steve), Nancy (Bryce), Kathy (Todd), Jane (Dave), Pat (Kris), Judy (LaVerne), Kevin (Janet), Marge (Gene), and Vicky (Joe); and cousins, Matthew, Elizabeth, Jason, Jill, Kris, Julie, Tommy, Melissa, Charlie, Toby, David, Lindsay, Stephanie, Aimee, Sarah, Ben, Heidi, Eric, DJ, Billy, Annie Marie, Danny, Stevie, Mike, Maggie, Jenny, Katie, Kari, Molly, Erin, Christopher, Jamie, Megan, Michelle, Kelly, Allie, Jack, Tammy, Mark, Glen, Jessica, Bradley, LeeAnn, Jodi, Carl, Christine, Michael, and Stephanie. He is further survived by many friends and his fellow soldiers. Ryan was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Jack and Mickey Adams; maternal grandparents, Arthur (Irma) Grochowski and Lorraine Grochowski; his uncle, Paul; and cousins, Melissa and Christopher.
Funeral services for SGT. Adams will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 10, 2009, at the Rhinelander High School Auditorium with Father John Gerritts officiating. Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday, October 9, 2009, at the Carlson Funeral Home (369-1414 / www.carlsonfh.com) and from 9:30 a.m. until the time of service on Saturday at the high school. Interment with military honors will follow in Northland Memorial Park.
For those who would wish to honor Ryan, the family suggests support of a memorial established in his name for the benefit of the Angel on My Shoulder program. Contributions may be directed to Angel on My Shoulder, P.O. Box 747, St. Germain, Wisconsin - 54558.