Honoring Roanoke Co. Soldier Killed in Afghanistan
Reporter: David Tate
Roanoke Co., VA - He lost his life during a protest of the burnings of the Quran in Afghanistan, and now hundreds of people have stepped up to help the family of fallen Roanoke County soldier Sgt. T.J. Conrad.
Wednesday his family held a fundraiser to help offset travel expenses so his soldier friends across the country can come to his funeral. The well wishers never stopped and by noon, there was easily enough money raised to meet the goal.
The constant trickle of people never stopped. They followed the yellow ribbons and American flags that led the way. People came to pay respects and to tell Tim Conrad thank you for his family's sacrifice.
"Right now it seems like the only time I get choked up. I don't know why, all of this touches me," said Tim Conrad Sr., T.J. Conrad's father.
While trying to juggle funeral arrangements and grieve for his son, Conrad's main concern is really elsewhere. His concern is over his son's friends, who he wanted to help out so they could attend Sgt. T.J. Conrad's funeral. So the call went out and spread like fire.
Missy Conner heard the call and isn't surprised others wanted to help the Conrads' out.
"We have a wonderful giving area and the Conrad's are a special people and are involved in many different aspects of school," said Missy Conner, a family friend.
Conrad's boss knew what he had to do by offering the office as center of operations, and he's been busy.
"Calling, offering to help, asking what they can do to help. It's been busy, but it's been a wonderful 24 hours," said Paul Huffman with Dominion Met.
Long before it was over, the goals were met, which is a satisfaction that will allow a father to step back and process what has happened.
"They are bringing their wives with them. They are that close. Their wives want to be with Holly. Almost all of them are carrying their kids. I don't want them spending their rent money to be here for TJ," said Conrad.
Sgt. Conrad's body is still in Dover Wednesday evening so there is no set date for his funeral. He leaves behind a wife and young son Bentley.
Now that the original goal of the fundraiser is complete, Conrad says any additional money collected will go to a fund set up for Bentley.
You can donate to that fund at any Wells Fargo in care of Sgt. T.J. Conrad.