Summerville Army Ranger laid to rest in Savannah

SAVANNAH (WCSC) - Friend and families said their final goodbyes as U.S. Army Special Operations Ranger Christopher Celiz was laid to rest in Savannah.

Sgt. First Class Christopher Celiz was killed in action on June 12 while serving overseas in Afghanistan.

At the time, he was trying to get people to safety, helping them evacuate at a landing zone.

"This young man has given his life to help others, a nation," Connie Lechot said.

Lechot is a military wife attending the services for Celiz.

"Not all will do it," Lechot said."All are called and few are chosen to fight for our freedom. Thank you Lord that we know many men and women that have given their life to fight for our flag."

Celiz went to Summerville High School where he was a part of the ROTC program.

He then attended the Citadel before enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2007.

He was killed in action during his fifth deployment.

"It's the ultimate sacrifice for someone to lay their life on the line for their country and fellow man. It's amazing the people who do that. We have heroes all over the country and Christopher is one of those heroes," retired U.S. Navy Master Chief Carson Burgess said.

Burgess knew Celiz from ROTC at Summerville High School.

"Outstanding young man, leader of all leaders, just an overall great guy," Burgess said.

"Soldiers, when they die in combat, are fighting for their freedom and the constitution and everything that we have," Patriot Guard Riders Georgia Capt. Harold Piet said.

Although he attended school in the Lowcountry, his services were held at a temple in downtown Savannah where he worshiped while he was stationed at the Hunter Army Airfield.

"There's a wonderful quote by Maya Angelou that I thought of that says you may not remember what people say, you may not remember what they do, but you always remember how they made you feel. When you think of Chris, you just think of such a good guy," Summerville High School classmate Erica Spell said.

Celiz was posthumously awarded the Meritorious Service medal, a Bronze Star, and a Purple Heart by the military.

In addition, Summerville Mayor Wiley Johnson issued a proclamation from the town in memory of Celiz.

"Just a way to honor him and solidify it in the history of the Town of Summerville for his service and sacrifice," Spell said.

Celiz was sent off with full military honors. He leaves behind a wife and daughter.

Celiz's Army unit will host an additional memorial service this fall when they return from deployment.

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