Remembering Ryan Larson - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Remembering Ryan Larson

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ADAMS-FRIENDSHIP (WAOW) -- A special Veterans Day tribute in our area honors a fallen soldier who died while serving in Afghanistan this year.

Friday's ceremony brought together friends, family members and fellow veterans -- all in memory of 19-year-old Ryan Larson. Now a special tribute right in front of the high school will ensure he's never forgotten.

"When someone so young passes before you, that's never right," said Ryan's wrestling coach Shawn Groshek.

Private Ryan Larson always dreamed of serving in the army. He enlisted when he graduated from high school last June. Ryan died in combat twelve months later.

"As soon as they were informed of the happening, within a day, I had three different individual phone calls saying, we need to do something," said Groshek.

For Veterans Day, his classmates dedicated a bench in his honor -- a resting place for weary walkers.

"We will always remember him but it's that one thing that will always be there that no one can take away," said Adams-Friendship High School junior Nick Thiesen, who was on the wrestling team with Ryan. "He'll always be apart of this school as he was when he was here."

"He always knew how to get somebody, when they were having a bad day, how to make them happy," said Ryan's cross country coach Mike Norton. "That's the thing that I'll always remember about him. He was always trying to look out for other people."

Months after his death, snapshots of his life serve as inspiration.

"It just makes me think and it's a good feeling to know that people are out there to do good stuff for us," said Thiesen.

"He went out the way he wanted to go," said Groshek. "He was serving his country, he was serving his fellow man and his fellow Americans. Veterans Day should be every day because of the fact of what they've done for us."

Ryan's classmates raised money for the bench by selling yellow ribbon magnets around the state. He was the first Adams County soldier killed in combat since the Vietnam War.

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