Hometown Hero Killed

One of the latest members of the 48th Brigade killed in Iraq was laid to rest Sunday. Residents of Valdosta paid their final respects to one of their hometown heroes.

Hundreds of Valdostans lined Ann Street, flags in hand and patriotism in their hearts, all wanting to say thank you, and a final farewell to a true hometown hero.

"This is a small community, really, and with Moody Air Force Base having losses and now the 48th Brigade, it does strike home," shared Dean Failor, who is retired military.

Jim Morgan, who attended Shelley's funeral, added," The War on Terror is a very personal thing, especially when it happens to one of our own. It's all brought very much home."

SPC Ronnie Shelley was killed in Iraq after a roadside bomb exploded near his Humvee on July 30. It's a loss that's re-energized a community to continue showing its love and support for the military.

Shelley's 1st SGT Kevin Roberts said, "We've got hometown troops and soldiers over there right now. I would love to see every house adorned with a yellow ribbon to remember, especially on occasions like today."

Fellow soldiers remember Shelley as a strong and generous man who died fighting for the country he loved. It was a service full of emotion, pride and a promise to never forget.

SPC Shelley's wife Heide shared, "I know he would be grinning from ear to ear right now. He really, really would."

SPC Shelly was a soldier who paid the ultimate price for our country's freedom. His legacy of duty and honor to this country will forever be remembered by those who loved him.

SPC Shelley was laid to rest at Sunset Hill Cemetery in Valdosta. He was one of 11 soldiers from the National Guard's 48th Brigade killed in Iraq.

Shelley leaves behind a wife, three children and a host of family and friends.


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