Army honors family of Grove City soldier killed in combat in 2014

GROVE CITY, OH (WCMH) — A local Gold Star family was honored last week during “All American Week” at Fort Bragg Army base in North Carolina.

Grove City’s Army Paratrooper and Sniper Specialist Joey Riley was killed in action in Afghanistan during  2014 and just days ago a special memorial stone was dedicated in his name.

On Friday, NBC4 met his mother at the Grove City Museum, where his uniform is on display, for a very special pinning ceremony.

“He was very proud when he was promoted to Specialist,” Michelle Riley said of her son. He made the rank after passing jump school and sniper school as a private during 2013 and 2014.

Michelle said she and her husband Rodney picked up Specialist Riley’s rank insignia during that special week spent with their other family, the 82 Airborne! Riley was a soldier in the 1st of the 508th 4th Brigade Combat Team and Riley said the brigade’s association raised the funds to erect a memorial in his name.

“They said he will be etched not only in stone but in their memory,” Riley said.

He was the only soldier in his unit to die during combat in Enduring Freedom.

“We are just so glad there will not be any other names on that stone,” she said.

Michelle loves talking about the pride she, her community and the Army all have for her son. “What Grove City and the schools did by lining the streets during his funeral in November of  2014 was more than comforting.”

“The band played, that was huge, and really blessed us,” Riley said.

She said people should never be afraid to ask someone what the Gold Star stands for.

“If they ever see a Gold Star plate just ask the people about their fallen loved one,” Riley said.

Specialist Riley’s uniform and decorations are on permanent display at the Grove City Museum, need door to the police station.

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