October 24, 2012ARLINGTON, Va. — Solemn burial ceremonies by a grateful nation were held yesterday afternoon, Oct. 23, honoring Sergeant First Class Ryan Savard at Arlington National Cemetery.
The much-decorated 29-year-old Green Beret, who served in the Army for a decade with multiple deployments, was killed in action on Saturday, Oct. 13, in Afghanistan.
A funeral service had been held earlier on Saturday, Oct. 20, at Fort Bragg, N.C., with a wake the previous day.
His wife, Kayla, his parents, Marie and Garett Savard of Lancaster, and seven siblings — Jedidiah, Rachel, Rebekah, Virginia, Karen, Garett R., and Mariah — survive him.
Ryan Savard lived in Jefferson for four of his teenage years.
He attended the eighth grade in 1996-1997 at the Lancaster School and his freshman, sophomore and junior years at WMRHS. He then moved to Arizona to live with his cousin and graduated in 2001 from Buena High School in Sierra Vista.
Retired Navy Chief Bruce Hicks of Jefferson said that Savard's parents have asked for his help in planning a community celebration of their son's life, likely in November in Jefferson.
Plans are also being worked out with the Jefferson board of selectmen to add a granite monument to honor Savard's service and sacrifice, likely with funds raised by public subscription, near the existing war memorial on Route 2, adjacent to the Old Corner Store.
Christine Hicks Pellerin, a Jefferson native now of Lancaster, recalls how close she and her family were to the boy who moved to her hometown at the beginning of his eighth-grade year.
"As a teenager Ryan spent countless hours at our house; he was like another brother for several years. Ryan and my step-brother Jared Morin, both of Jefferson, along with Matt Chase, Trevor Ferron and Kyle Rugh, all of Lancaster, were a tight group of friends. They shared so many memories that now seem like a lifetime ago.
Morin, Chase, Ferron, Rugh, and Pellerin collaborated in recalling what kind of a teenager Ryan was. "He was kind, respectful, had a magnetic personality and a smile that lit up any room he was in," the quintet wrote in an e-mail. "At a young age, Ryan was a responsible citizen who loved his country and was incredibly proud of his father's career (in the Army).
"Growing up close friends with Ryan was a privilege — countless hours of laughs and smiles. He defined what a true friend should be. After moving to Arizona and then enlisting (on Aug. 29, 2001), Ryan made a great effort to stay in touch with friends back in New Hampshire.
"Ryan stayed true to himself and grew from a happy, fun-loving kid to an amazing serviceman. Knowing all of Ryan's heroic successes and sacrifice is of no surprise, but to speak of who he was as a kid and the man he became – there are no just words.
"Our lives were richer and are safer because of his love, honor and duty to our United States. Ryan Savard, another Jefferson hero…God's speed."