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Family, friends honor soldier on anniversary of death overseas

Posted: March 6, 2011 1:30 a.m.
Updated: March 6, 2011 1:30 a.m.

Locals show support during a procession in March 2010 for Sgt. Ian T.D. Gelig, of Stevenson Ranch, who was killed in Afghanistan. Gelig’s family held a large celebration of his life Saturday.

GRANADA HILLS  — Delia Gelig told her son Army Sgt. Ian Gelig that she would pay for a wedding party when he got married while he was fighting in Afghanistan. 

“Ian will never have a wedding,” Delia Gelig said. “He was taken away from us.”

Ian Gelig, 25, of the 82nd Airborne Division, was killed March 1, 2010, after a bomb exploded near the vehicle he was riding in while on patrol in southern Afghanistan. The Hart High School graduate was months away from being discharged.
Almost 300 of his family, friends and Santa Clarita Valley community members gathered at The Odyssey Restaurant to celebrate Gelig’s life on the first anniversary of his death.   

Since Delia Gelig, 56, can’t throw a wedding party for her son, the large celebration Saturday was a way to keep the promise to her son.

“I wanted this to be a special celebration,” Delia Gelig said. “I wanted to thank those people who shared our pain.”

Last year, during a funeral procession from Blessed Kateri Catholic Church in Saugus to Gelig’s burial site at San Fernando Mission Hills Cemetery, thousands of Santa Clarita Valley residents lined city streets in honor of the Stevenson Ranch resident.

Delia Gelig received her son’s last message February 28, 2010. It was Sunday morning.

“He said, ‘I’ll call you later,’” she said. “I went to a prayer meeting that day and prayed for the Afghan people to lay down their weapons.”

She said she knew something was wrong when she didn’t hear from her son later that night.

Two men dressed in military uniforms knocked on the Gelig’s front door the next morning. Delia Gelig broke down and cried before they told her Ian had been killed.

“They didn’t need to tell me that something was wrong,” she said.

Ian Gelig was remembered Saturday as religious and caring who cared for his family and friends.

“He went to church every Sunday,” Delia Gelig said. “He was very outgoing and had a great sense of humor

Ian was a very sweet and respectful kid.”


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