By Lacie Lowry, The News On 6
BRISTOW, OK -- Friends and family of a fallen Oklahoma soldier held a public memorial for their hero Saturday.
Specialist Ryan Grady died July 1 in Bagram, Afghanistan of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised-explosive device.
Hometown hero... military man... doting dad -- all words used to describe Grady at his memorial in Bristow.
"No matter how bad your day was, he could make you laugh, he could make you smile. He was the best daddy I've ever seen," said Heaven Grady, Ryan Grady's wife.
The 25-year-old was buried in Vermont where he served with the state's National Guard. Grady's loved ones in Oklahoma, and the community of Bristow where he grew up, wanted to say their goodbyes, too.
"He cared for everyone. As big of a man as he was, I still don't believe his body was big enough to carry his heart," said Brandon Logan, Grady's best friend.
The combat engineer's family says Grady loved the 4th of July and what it stood for.
This July 4th was the day his flag-draped coffin was sent home.
"Now that I come home to Bristow, I know he's not going to come home and I'm not going to be able to hold him," said Debora Hudacek, Grady's mother. "But he'll live on in my heart."
Grady's brother is also serving in Afghanistan. The two had breakfast together only hours before Grady died.
Family and country meant the most to him. In fact, Grady's wife received an e-mail from him after she found out he had passed away.
"It was great and horrible at the same time, because I knew that he was there thinking about us right before it happened," said Heaven Grady.
"The world is a lesser place without Ryan Grady," said Logan.
Specialist Grady is survived by his parents, two brothers, his wife and daughter. The family has set up a memorial fund at Community Bank in Bristow if you'd like to donate.