It was a sad day for many people across the Ohio Valley and Moundsville in particular; after learning that one of the soldiers killed in the Afghanistan plane crash is someone they know well and love dearly.
Friends of the 26-year-old U.S. Airmen said they’re experiencing a loss so great; it’s hard to put into words, because Ryan Hammond has had such an incredible impact on their lives.
Hammond, a 2007 graduate of John Marshall High School, is one of the six Air Force members and five civilians who lost their lives, when the plane they were on went down about 80 miles outside of Kabul, Afghanistan early Friday morning. It hasn’t been clear exactly what caused the plane to go down, but those who know him best say whatever the cause; it won’t fill the void they now feel following the loss of their beloved Ryan. Scott Berry, one of Ryan’s childhood friends has given us a statement about his relationship with the now fallen soldier and it reads:
“My family lived in Moundsville for the first 11 years of my life. The Hammonds lived close to us up on Roberts Ridge. Ryan’s younger sister was in the same grade with me, Ryan was a year older, and Ryan’s older sister is the same age as my older sister, Kacie, who are best friends today. We all went to Washington Lands Elementary School together until my family moved to New Martinsville when I was in 4th grade. Ryan and I lost touch a little bit after that, but I spent a lot of time at his house during that time living in Moundsville. I love his family, Ryan’s parents are great people and always welcomed Kacie and I in their home like we were their own kids.
I enjoyed playing video games with Ryan and baseball, basketball, you name it. But what I will remember most about our childhood is the hockey games we played in his basement. We were both good athletes and could roller skate very well, and we both liked hockey. So we would set up anything we could think of to make goals on each side of his concrete floored basement and play one on one roller hockey. It was so fun and I will never forget it.
Ryan and I kept in touch a little through Facebook. We were never really super close like our sisters are, but I will always remember and always love him as a friend. He was a great guy to know. He was always so nice, was a little quiet/shy, goofy to the ones close to him, and loved sports, which is why we hit it off so well because those characteristics describe me in a nutshell.
Through Facebook, I saw that he has a loving family with his wife. I am so sorry for their loss and for the Hammonds’ loss. Ryan served our country well and represented the Ohio Valley heroically. I will never forget him. Thank you Ryan, and rest in peace,” said Scott Berry.
We have reached out to Ryan’s wife and a number of close friends, but understandably so; they have requested their privacy, while they sort everything out.
A GoFundMe account has been set up and is available here, if you would like to contribute.