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Local soldier killed in Afghanistan remembered

March 13, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Caring community members turned out today to show they appreciate the sacrifice made by Staff Sergeant Ian Gelig and the thousands of other American troops fighting overseas.A procession carrying Ian Gelig's body traveled from Santa Clarita to Mission Hills with people lining the streets the whole way honoring a soldier who gave his life for his country.

"We're proud of him, that he served our country and that his life meant a lot to a lot of people," Briana Kearns said while watching the procession. "He isn't just one person, people really do care about him and he's not just another soldier who passed away."

Hundreds lined the streets of Sergeant Gelig's home town of Stevenson Ranch.

The 25-year-old was a proud member of the 82nd Airborne Division stationed in Kandahar Afghanistan. He was killed when a suicide bomber rammed his vehicle.

Community members who turned out on Saturday to pay their respects hope that Gelig's parents can take some comfort in the community support.

"In a time of great pain, hopefully they have something to hang onto," supporter Fred Arnold said. "The community is there for them, the community supports them and something they can remember very positively for their son."

Members of the Sheriff's Department and Patriot Guard Riders helped lead the procession from Santa Clarita to Gelig's final resting place at the San Fernando Mission Cemetery.

Those who turned out to pay their respects say it's the least they can do and they hope Gelig's family can feel the compassion.

"They realize that we do support their son and we support the troops," supporter Toli McVey said. "And they are very special for standing up, freedom is not free, and they're standing in the gap for all of us. I just appreciate them so much."