Friends and family of Staff Sgt. Ryan Hammond flocked to Altmeyer Funeral Home in Moundsville.
Hundreds of mourners turned out for the memorial visitations that lasted an entire day and evening.
Ryan Hammond grew up in Moundsville, where people remember his stand-out personality.
“He was just an all-around great guy,” recalled his cousin, Andy Mondreas of Moundsville. “I mean he would do anything for anybody. In my eyes, he’s a hero.”
“Ryan liked to have fun, first and foremost, and make other people smile,” said Jesse Litman of Wheeling, another cousin. “He had a knack of always being positive and genuinely caring about everybody, no matter what was going on in his life, he took the time out to ask what was going on, and he just genuinely cared.”
“He loved his family, he loved his wife, he loved his friends,” said Kelly McGrath of Stow, Ohio. “He seemed like he was the life of the party and really wanted everyone to feel special. And I think that’s why everyone is out here today, honoring him.”
“The All-American kid,” noted John Nanny of the Marine Corps League. “The tremendous family man. the one willing to step forward and pay any price to defend this nation.”
The Patriot Guard Riders stood vigil outside the funeral home all day.
They said they were honored to have been invited by the family.
“It’s a very long day,” noted Susan Whitlatch of the Patriot Guard Riders. “They had a private ceremony, and then two public visitations. But what these young men are doing for our country, this is the least we can do.”
He will be buried at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery.
Staff Sgt. Ryan Hammond died at age 26.