East Texans Come Together Over Troup Soldier's Death - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/21/07- Troup

East Texans Come Together Over Troup Soldier's Death

As the church bell tolls and among a sea of patriotic flags, hundreds of East Texans come to say goodbye to their hero.  U.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert was among those paying their respects.

"God gave a gift to Troup Texas, and to this country and to the world," said Congressman Gohmert.

Finding a little strength, Sam's mother said her only child was her greatest gift.

"I've never loved anyone in my life like I loved my son, my every breath, completely filling my heart and my soul."

Friday, the U.S. Army presented the Kelsey family with several medals, including the purple heart for his bravery. Sam Kelsey died trying to save another friend and fellow soldier.

"Sergeant Sam Kelsey, my baby boy to me, had compassion, love, loyalty, and a special passion for life," said Denina Kelsey. 

"The world is a better place for him having been in it and we will always honor and revere his memory," said Congressman Gohmert.

It was with full military honors that Sergeant Kelsey was laid to rest in his hometown of Troup.

"This is a sad time for all of us," said Bill Watkins, Ride Captain with the Patriot Guard Riders of Texas.

Patriot Guard riders stand out of respect and observance of his sacrifice.

"The military's just not a job you go to without hazards," said Watkins.  "They put themselves in harms way and it brings everybody together."

A cherished son, valiant soldier and friend, and forever a hero.

"Live with him, smile for him, he will walk with us every day," said Denina Kelsey. 

Courtney Lane, Reporting clane@kltv.com

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