CORRYTON, Tenn. (WATE) — Its been almost one year since United States Army Staff Sergeant Ryan Knauss was killed in Afghanistan by a suicide bomber.
The Gibbs High School graduate was one of 13 American service members who lost their lives during an attack on the U.S. during an effort to evacuate thousands from around the Kabul Airport last year.
The Tennessee community has rallied around his family since. His alma mater had a very special ceremony on Wednesday, Aug. 17 to honor this local American hero.
Ryan has been remembered in so many ways this past year and now a portrait will hang in Gibbs High School so that generations will remember his sacrifice for the country.
“It’s another in a long line of great honors,” said Ryan’s dad, Greg Knauss.
U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Ryan Knauss graduated from Gibbs High School in 2016.
“Before he could drive, I would bring him to school, drop him off and as school started this past week or so I would drive by and sometimes see the line waiting to get in and think I remember doing that, that was a special time,” Greg added.
Ryan’s mom, Paula Knauss Selph, said he begged to go to the school because of its JROTC program. After graduating, he went to serve in the military and gave the ultimate sacrifice.
“He will not be forgotten by myself, by my family, by this community, by this school. He will be remembered because he did make a difference,” Selph said.
Now, a portrait of him will be a reminder of his service to all who walk the hallways of Gibbs High School.
“We are honored to have this portrait and I told some folks we are going to put it out visible in the hallways where folks can see it. Where kids can see it,” Gibbs High School Principal Jason Webster said.
Tennessee Lieutenant Governor Randy Mcnally, along with other Tennessee lawmakers, honored Knauss and his family.
McNally said during the ceremony, “I’m reminded of the words in Matthew that blessed are those who morn that they should be comforted.”
This portrait is another reminder that “freedom is never free.” His family hopes Knauss will never be forgotten.
“This past year has been a roller coaster. A lot of different emotions all at the same time. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him,” Greg said.
Along with the portrait, a plaque and a proclamation will be displayed at Gibbs High School.
There have been other ways the community has honored Knauss and his family. A stretch of highway in Corryton has been named after Knauss and a memorial bridge is planned to be built in his name.