Community pays homage to fallen soldier

Strangers, neighbors, and extended military family gathered along the processional route to honor Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Andrew Celiz, 32.

Celiz died, July 12, in Afghanistan, of wounds sustained as a result of enemy small arms fire while conducting operations in support of a medical evacuation landing zone in Zurmat district, Paktiya province. The incident is under investigation.

To many at home, Celiz is a hero, who is now etched into the lives of everyday people.

“He gave his life for us to keep us free and for our country. And it’s important that people pay attention and pay their respects,” The Davis family says. Steve Davis, served in the army for 20 years. It’s been, many years since he’s become a veteran but his wife Ella still considers herself an army wife.

“It’s personal for us because it’s what we’ve known his whole life and over twenty years of ours and our children’s,” Ella Davis, says.

Not only their children but grandchildren. Their grandson Shawn Hurley, stood by their side to honor a soldier that reminds him of his father who is currently deployed in Korea. Hurley says, he hasn’t seen his father since April.

“I just hope he gets through it, is safe and comes back safe,” Hurley said.

Chelsea Heard agrees as the wife of a Ranger out of the First Battalion at Hunter Army Airfield.

She says tells News 3, she knows firsthand the struggles families face during difficult times.

“It just kind of reminds you to I guess appreciate when they’re home and value the time you have. Because you just don’t know what could ever happen, and if they won’t come home one day. And that’s not anything that anyone wants to imagine,” Heard said.

While holding her 3-month-old son, she says she grateful for her family and sends her sincerest condolences to the family of Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Celiz.

“It’s really heartbreaking, you know you don’t think about the ones that don’t come home. All the time, you see all the homecoming videos you don’t see the ones that don’t come home.”

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