Hood County vigil honors 2000th U.S. casualty in Afghanistan

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WFAA

Posted on October 3, 2012 at 11:01 PM

TOLAR, Texas — An entire community showed up to honor a fallen soldier Wednesday night.

Generations filled the old football field in Tolar for a candlelight vigil.

Sgt. First Class Riley Stephens is the 2,000th U.S. military casualty in Afghanistan. But the 39-year-old is much more than a number — and the turnout at the memorial service is proof.

Flags lined the field in Hood County, southwest of Fort Worth, as people spoke fondly of Stephens.

One friend and fellow soldier fought off tears as he described how Sgt. Stephens saved his life in combat.

"I can't thank you enough," he said to Sgt. Stephens' parents. "The day Riley was born, you had no idea that the sacrifice he would make would give me a chance at life."

Funeral arrangements for Sgt. Stephens are still being made.

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