Middletown displays support for corpsman killed in military crash

Volunteers hung yellow ribbons throughout Middletown Thursday.
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MIDDLETOWN, Ind. (WTHR) - A Henry County town is showing their pride for a native son killed in a military plane crash this week.

The people of Middletown showed strength and unity Thursday, tying yellow ribbons all over town and flying their flags at half-staff in honor of Navy Corpsman Ryan Lohrey.

But all of that couldn't stop the tears from falling.

"It was shocking. It's just terrible. To lose a child and their only one, my heart goes out to them and the whole family," said family friend Jamie Underwood.

The morning started with a prayer at Dietrich Park. Dozens of people from the community gathered to support the Lohrey family.

"I feel for his mom. I couldn't imagine. Just heartbreak. Sad," said Vicki Johnson.

Johnson organized the gathering, because she has a son currently serving in the military.

"You never want to go through this as a parent. You give your most precious gift to the military and you always pray and home that they come home. And not home like this," she said.

Lohrey was a father of two children, but Underwood remembers Ryan as a kid himself, running around with her son, Jordan, as a child, then graduatinng from Shenandoah High School years later.

She says she came out to the vigil "just to support, to show them that we love them. The town of Middletown, they are a history of this town. It's just something that my heart told me that I needed to do."

This is not the first time the town of Middletown has hung yellow ribbons for one of their lost servicemen. A year ago, almost to the day, Air Force Staff Sgt. Halex Hale was killed while serving in Italy.

"We were downtown last year when they brought Halex home," family friend Tammy Stewart said. "I never imagined how quiet it would be. Like, when they brought him through, you didn't hear anything."

"It's heart-wrenching. It's heartbreaking. You'd never expect it to happen once, let alone twice," Johnson said.

To give you an idea of the sense of community in the small town of 2,400 people, one person told us, "when one family is hurting, we are all hurting."

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