Killed in Quran Burning Protest, Roanoke Soldier Laid to Rest

Reporter: Sally Delta

Roanoke Co., VA - It was a sad day for many in the Star City. Soldier Sgt. T.J. Conrad was laid to rest.He lost his life during protests of the burnings of the Quran in Afghanistan last month.

Conrad was a young man with a wife and son.It was tough to hold back tears at the funeral Saturday.It was open casket.

Friends and family filled the auditorium at Northside High School, where Conrad once walked the halls.

"T.J. had two great sets of friends. He had his Northside crew and his army friends," said Tim Conrad, Conrad's dad.

And for the first time, Conrad's two worlds came together to honor and remember him. They remembered him as a son: "He had a great sense of humor - almost too much. To him, everything was a joke," said Conrad's dad.

As a soldier: "He's the kind of friend that would bend over backwards for you. I could always count on him to be there if I needed someone to talk to," said Sgt. Brent Riley, friend.

And as a high school wrestler: "A teammate, a soldier, a hero, who gave the ultimate gift for his country," said Mark Agner, Conrad's coach.

But above all, many say Conrad was a family man first: "T.J.'s greatest passion in life was his wife and son. He always looked forward to wrestle and play football with Bentley. I remember him telling me, 'Riley, he said Riley, the best day of my life was when I held Bentley, after he was born,'" said Sgt. Riley.

Conrad's family received a number of medals for his service, including a Purple Heart, a Combat Action Badge and a War on Terrorism Medal.But friends say the accolades will never amount to the man T.J. was.

"I'll never forget you T.J.," said Agner.

Conrad's birthday is this Tuesday, March 6th. He would have turned 23-years-old.