Hundreds Honor Fallen Rockbridge Soldier

Reporter: James Gherardi l Videographer: Ira Quillen

Lexington, VA - Hundreds of family and friends of fallen Army Ranger, Chase Prasnicki met Thursday night at Rockbridge County High School to remember and honor the fallen football star. Prasnicki was killed Wednesday in Afghanistan, after his Humvee drove over an IED roadside bomb.

"And you remember our friend, Chase Prasnicki, who being true to your word, laid down his life for his fellow soldiers and also, for all of us," said a pastor over a loudspeaker to the crowd.

"Got a phone call this morning, a phone call that I didn't want to believe, a phone call that broke my heart."

Over a loud speaker, addressing hundreds of friends, family, and teammates, Rockbridge County football coach Jason White remembers his star player Chase Prasnicki.

"When things started coming together for Chase to be able to go to West Point, I thought it was a perfect fit, because he was a leader. He was a field general for us," said White.

And it was his military mindset that took Prasnicki from Rockbridge County to West Point.

On Sunday, the 1st lieutenant Army Ranger was deployed to Afghanistan. Just three days later, his hum-v hit a roadside bomb; Prasnicki would die a leader.

And it was leadership; friends say Prasnicki had his whole life. "I don't think being a leader that you can be taught to be a leader. I think you have to be born with it, and Chase embodied all of that," said former teammate, Byron Jones.

And so hundreds of Rockbridge County friends and family came out to the field where he used to play; one by one lighting candles to honor his legacy.

"I think he gave a lot of inspiration to people. You know from pushing on and coming from a small town, doing what he did. And now, with his death, everybody's of course grieving about it, but it makes you proud," said former teammate, Patrick Bannon.

"The area didn't just lose a Rockbridge County football player; it lost a role model to its youth," said Jones.

Prasnicki was 24 years old. He leaves behind a wife, Emily.