Candlelight service planned for SPC Ryan Jayne
TROY - At the Western Alliance Building Friday in Troy, a flag was flying at half-mast in honor of fallen soldier Spc. Ryan P. Jayne.
It's not the only way that the community of Troy will be paying tribute to Jayne, 22, who died Nov. 3 while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
At 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 18, a candlelight service honoring Jayne will be held at Alparon Park in Troy. The public is invited.
Jayne, of Campbell, N.Y., who was a Troy native, died when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device in Paktia province, Afghanistan, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Defense.
"We will be gathering at the flagpole on the football field," said his aunt, Kathy Close about the candlelight service. "I would love it if we could fill the football field."
Close said candles will be handed out at the entrance at Gate 2.
"Our plans are to mark the entrance with a large flag," she said.
According to Close, Tad Culkin will speak about Jayne, and high school students will sing patriotic songs. In addition, the VFW and American Legion Riders will be present with their Color Guard. Taps will be played, and there will be a three-volley gun salute.
"We hope to send off thoughts and prayers with the lighting of sky lanterns and
end with a prayer," she commented.
She said Jayne's funeral at Corning East High School in New York recently was a full military service, and more than 1,000 people attended.
"It was one of those things where you experience every emotion imaginable," she said. "You see pictures of him when he was little, and it brings back memories of him, and you remember why you're there."
She said it was a "very up-and-down, emotional day."
"The military handled it beautifully. It was very professionally done."
"He really was a person that loved family," she recalled of her nephew. "Anytime we had family get togethers, Ryan was there. He wanted to be a part of them all."
She said he was a "Dallas Cowboys No. 1 fan."
"He had to be there and root for them every time."
Close remembered how, when he was a child, Jayne would wear a little Dallas Cowboys jersey.
She noted that he had recently purchased a Monte Carlo '87 that he was restoring with his brother, Adam.
She called him a "Troy boy" because he was raised in Troy until about the time he was in middle school, when his family moved.His mother is Sherry Pine Skeens, his stepfather is Kent Skeens, and his father is Paul Jayne.
Close said the soldier, who was her sister's son, was "a very special young man" who "always had a smile on his face."
"He enjoyed life to its fullest and was looking forward to getting married and having children some day," she said. "He would have been a great husband and daddy."
Close noted that there will be a donation jar at the candlelight service. Any donations received will be given to the charity or charities of his family's choice.
She hopes the community turns out for the service.
Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; email: email@example.com.