Family, friends and WMRHS classmates honored 29-year-old Army Green Beret SFC Ryan Savard as an American hero at Sunday afternoon’s memorial service in the Jefferson Town Hall, including his youngest sister Mariah Savard Pruden, 6th from left, mother Marie and father retired SGM Garett Savard, both of Lancaster, oldest brother Jedidiah and Tara Dee Sweetser, far right. Savard was killed in action on Oct. 13 in Afghanistan during his fifth deployment. Photo by Edith Tucker. (click for larger version)
November 14, 2012JEFFERSON — Army SFC Ryan Savard, a 29-year-old Special Forces Green Beret who made the ultimate sacrifice on Oct. 13 when he was killed by small arms fire in combat in Afghanistan, was honored and remembered at a Sunday afternoon memorial service and celebration of his life on Veteran's Day in the town hall.
Family, neighbors, and friends recalled Savard as a lively teenager with a magnetic smile and personality, and a continuous-loop slideshow provided impressive evidence of his extraordinary physical fitness, dedication to duty, and enjoyment of his adult life with his wife, Kayla.
Born on Feb. 27, 1983, in Salt Lake City, Savard lived in a number of cities and towns around the country in Utah, Nevada, and Florida, but he kept in touch with the friends and classmates he had made from 1995 to 2000 at the Lancaster School and in the Class of 2001 at White Mountains Regional High School. Although he graduated from Buena High School in Sierra Vista, Ariz., he had in essence adopted Jefferson as his hometown. Earlier Savard had spent time elsewhere in the Granite State: three years in New Hampton attending 4th, 6th, and 7th grades plus a 5th-grade year in Canaan.
The JROTC Spartan unit presented the colors; Emma Dean sang the National Anthem; American Legion Post 41 chaplain Dale Mitchell of Littleton gave the invocation, and two generations of the Hicks family spoke: retired Navy chief Bruce Hicks and his daughters Christine and Erin who had played key roles in organizing the services. Savard's youngest sister, Mariah, his father, retired Army SGM Garett Savard, his mother Marie Savard, and Jefferson selectman Norman Brown all spoke of Savard's willingness to sacrifice his life protect and preserve our nation's freedom and security.
State representatives-elect Leon Rideout of Lancaster and Marcia Hammon of Whitefield were on hand, as well as Jefferson School principal Sherri Gregory and Fish and Game conservation officer Glen Lucas, two uniformed state troopers from Troop F, plus many American Legion members from Post 41 in Whitefield and both active and retired military.
Earlier ceremonies were performed at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Sunday night, Oct. 14.
Services were held on Oct. 20 at Fort Bragg, N. C. and a solemn burial with full military honors took place on Oct. 23 at Arlington National Ceremony.
The Town of Jefferson has established the Ryan Savard Memorial Fund for the purpose of erecting an appropriate marker recognizing his service and sacrifice, to be located at the modern-day Soldiers Monument in Jefferson Village.
If funds are sufficient, the town will also establish an annual award to be given to the member of the WMRHS JROTC Spartan Battalion who best exemplifies the spirit of SFC Savard through their loyalty, selflessness, service and sacrifice.
If possible, a contribution to the "Wounded Warrior" program will also be made in Savard's name.
Contributions may be mailed to: SFC Ryan Savard Memorial Fund, Town of Jefferson, P.O. Box 81, Jefferson, NH 03583.