Congregation remembers fallen Suck Creek soldier - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Congregation remembers fallen Suck Creek soldier

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Story by Megan Boatwright

Eyewitness News Reporter

HAMILTON COUNTY (WRCB)-- Sergeant Patrick Durham's family learned he was killed while serving in Afghanistan Saturday.

Durham told friends on Facebook Friday how much he loved serving his country.

Sunday those who knew him, paid honor to his memory.

"He was just a real sweet person, kind, loving," says friend Brenda Simpson

The congregation at Grandview Church of God gathered together like they usually do on Sunday mornings, but with sad news and heavy hearts.

"I believe the last time he came here he was in on leave and I believe he came in uniform," says friend Delmer McNabb.

News of the death of Sergeant Patrick Durham rippled through the community late Saturday night.

"It really shocked me, you know?," says Jean Phillips, church pianist.

Jean Phillips has played the piano for this congregation for 62 years. Durham and her grandson grew up together.

"He come up and hugged me and hugged him. I said it's so good to see you," says Phillips.

Durham made a point to visit his church whenever he was on leave. The 25-year-old enlisted right after high school. He completed his first tour of duty in Iraq. In order to support his wife and three young children he recently re-enlisted for six more years.

"Of course his uncle comes to church here who actually, practically raised him," says Phillips.

Durham's family members say the young man had plenty of reasons to choose a different course in life. But just two days ago told a friend he was glad to be serving his country.

"Talked to him on Facebook recently. Patrick come back with 'I love what I'm doing'," says Phillips.

Church members stayed up late building a special tribute for the soldier. The words on their marquee say it all.

"He's going to be missed in the community. We're going to miss him here at the church," says McNabb.

Durham family tells me his body is being flown to Delaware. His uncle and brother traveled there Sunday morning. Saturday would have been his fourth wedding anniversary with wife Christina. Durham was stationed at Fort Campbell in Kentucky.

Sergeant Durham is likely one of seven US troops killed in Afghanistan this weekend.

That's according to the Associated Press.

Two servicemen died in bombings Sunday in southern Afghanistan. Two others were killed in a bomb attack in the south Saturday. Three troops died fighting in the east the same day. That brings the total number of American deaths this month to 42.

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