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Wednesday July 25, 2012 - Daily Chronicle

Army Spc. Tyler Ryan is welcomed home Tuesday to DeKalb outside
Tavern by family, friends and supporters.
(Rob Winner –

Family's 'hero' returns home


DeKALB – Stacy Ryan can tell you it had been exactly 247 days since she had seen her brother, Army Spc. Tyler Ryan.

Tyler Ryan, 21, returned home to DeKalb last week after a tour in Afghanistan, where he’d been serving since Dec. 21. He’s spending two weeks in DeKalb and Leland before heading back to where he’s stationed in Alaska.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was nerve-racking,” said Stacy Ryan, 19, of Leland. “But he’s risking his life for complete strangers and people he will never even meet. He’s one of the best guys I know. He’s my hero.”

His father, Mike Ryan of DeKalb, helped organize a warm welcome home Tuesday evening with the help of the Warriors’ Watch Riders and the DeKalb fire and police departments. The motorcade started on Peace Road and headed through downtown DeKalb toward Annie Glidden Road.

Tyler Ryan, a 2008 graduate of Leland High School, joined the Army in 2010 and serves in the airborne infantry. About a month after he returns to Alaska, he’s heading back to Afghanistan until October.

“Everyone’s still over there,” he said. “It’s your family and your buddies. That’s why I want to go back so bad.”

His mother, Ginger Ryan of Leland, wears her pride for her son on her sleeve – literally. The last time her son was home in November, she got a tattoo on her arm of an American flag in the shape of a heart the silhouette of a soldier in the foreground. The picture is paired with the words, “My soldier, my son.”

Ginger Ryan said she was a little scared when her son told her about his plans to join the Army, but she was also very proud.

“It’s something I knew he would do good at and excel at. Plus, he looks really good in uniform,” she said while her son stood by in his camouflage uniform and maroon beret.

Stacy Ryan said it’s the little things she looks forward to most when her brother comes home.

“Just to see him and sit down with him is enough for me,” she said.

Ginger Ryan said her son is very modest, saying he didn’t think he should be singled out for a welcome parade. Tyler Ryan agreed with her, but his dad reminded him that “it takes every soldier to make a great Army.”

Mike Ryan said he was extremely happy to see his son in between his overseas tours.

“I couldn’t be more proud of my son,” he said. “He is my hero.”


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Tyler Ryan joined Boy Scout Troop 33 in 2001. He remained in the troop until moving to Leland. Some of his adventures included summer camp at Camp Lowden, spelunking at Mammoth Cave, and touring the General Patton Museum at Fort Knox, Kentucky. His father, Mike Ryan, was an Eagle Scout in Troop 33.

Upon Tyler's return, Troop 33 Scouts posed in a large welcome message photo for him. Tyler visited our Scouts at Camp Lowden during Wednesday night activities. A truck with some Troop 33 Scouts took part in his welcome home parade while other Scouts watched and waved flags from along the route.

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