Students at Washington Lands Elementary School in Marshall County are learning the true meaning of Veteran’s Day.
Staff Sgt. Ryan Hammond, of Moundsville, killed in Afghanistan on October 2nd, attended Washington Lands Elementary from kindergarten through 6th grade. A family friend has set up a display, with pictures and belongings of Hammond and of all veterans who are related to students there.
Ryan’s parents spoke about their son, and about the difficult job done every day by military men and women.
“Ryan was an adventurous kid. He always reached for his goals. He had high goals set for himself. And he had a lot of friends. Every time he would come home, we would say we would want to spend time with you, Ryan. But here comes his friends through the door,” said Cathy Hammond, Ryan’s mother.
“And if you see a veteran, thank a veteran. I just suggest, and we’ve done it before, just walk up to them and thank them for their service. And every instance, they have been very appreciative of your recognition of their service. I’ve never, never had a bad experience telling them thank you,” said David Hammond, Ryan’s father.
Monday night, Hammond and his parents were honored at an emotional tribute held at Wesbanco Arena during John Marshall’s hockey game.
Members of the John Marshall hockey team honored Hammond, giving his parents a home jersey.
“They were emotionally moved, more of them more so than I would have thought, you know, because none of them would have knew him. But, I think they all just realized how passionate he was about hockey from what I had talked to them about. And they all know Ryan was the best example for many of us to follow,” said Head Coach Anthony Evick.
Evick grew up with Hammond and the two played on the same team when they were sophomores at John Marshall High School.
Hammond died at age 26, just over a month ago. His parents have still not received word on the cause of the C-130 crash that killed everyone aboard.