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Fallen soldier honored Saturday

Community: Army paratrooper Ian Gelig, 25, to be memorialized, buried Saturday

Posted: March 10, 2010 9:55 p.m.
Updated: March 13, 2010 10:44 a.m.
 
Santa Clarita residents are invited on Saturday to pay their respects to Sgt. Ian T.D. Gelig, Army paratrooper and Stevenson Ranch resident who was killed in Afghanistan last week.

A 25-year-old member of the 82nd Airborne Division, Spc. Gelig was posthumously promoted to the rank of sergeant and will be honored during a funeral procession along Copper Hill Drive and at a memorial service in Mission Hills.

“We want to let Gelig’s family know they have community support and we’re grateful of (Ian) Gelig’s service,” said Planning Commissioner Bill Kennedy, who is helping plan the procession.

Gelig was killed when a roadside bomb exploded near the vehicle he was riding in while on a routine patrol in southern Afghanistan, Army officials said.

Gelig, who lived in Stevenson Ranch, graduated from Hart High School in 2002. He is survived by his parents, Tim and Delia Gelig, and his sisters, Vanessa and Liana.

Paul Gelig, Ian’s uncle, said in an e-mail that Ian’s body arrived in Santa Clarita earlier this week in preparation for the burial.

The fallen soldier’s funeral service will be held at noon on Saturday at Blessed Kateri Catholic Church, 22508 Copper Hill Drive. The service will not be open to the public.

However, the public can show its support at a funeral procession following the service, organized by several community members.

The procession will go from Blessed Kateri church west on Copper Hill Drive, south on McBean Parkway to Stevenson Ranch Parkway, and south at Pico Canyon Road to the Interstate 5 on-ramp at Lyons Avenue, said Fred Arnold, who is helping to coordinate the procession.

Residents are being encouraged to line up along the procession route about 1:15 p.m., Arnold said.  

SCV Boy Scout members, Elks Lodge and veteran’s organizations have been contacted to line the procession route holding American flags, said City Councilman Bob Kellar.

A public ceremony honoring Gelig will be held at San Fernando Mission Cemetery, in Mission Hills, about 2 p.m. after the hearse arrives, said Debi Duke of Blue Star Mothers of the Canyons. The public memorial will include a military honor guard service, Duke said.      

The City Council is working with local veterans groups to get a brick honoring Gelig into Veteran’s Memorial Plaza in Newhall, Kellar said.

“That’s a done deal,” Kellar said. “We always honor our soldiers.”

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