FALCON — Hundreds of people gathered in Falcon on Wednesday night to honor a fallen soldier who died in combat this past weekend. Sgt. Major James "Ryan" Sartor was deployed in Afghanistan when his family got the news. The community in Falcon came together to show their support for the family by holding a candlelight vigil and raising money for the Special Forces Fund, according to those with the event.
In addition to dozens of American flags lining the streets of Falcon, two local bars and restaurants hosted the candlelight vigil. Both Jak's Taproom and Brewery and the Purple Toad provided the place for the vigil, and said they raised money for the Special Forces Fund in different ways. Jak's Taproom and Brewery accepted donations for the fund, and the Purple Toad donated 10% of all their sales from 6-10 p.m. to the fund. "We want to ensure that that family knows that even though they're gone they're not forgotten," said Antonio Lee, one of the owners of Jak's Taproom and Brewery. Those with both restaurants said the money will find it's way to the family.
Sgt. Sartor's pastor led the vigil, with the family in attendance. Sgt. Sartor left behind a wife and three children. "How important it is that we as a community understand the sacrifices that our men and women make for our nation, the fact that we can be there even tonight for this vigil, Ryan gave his life for that," said Pastor Douglas Brauner of the Holy Cross Lutheran Church.
One of the women who helped organize the event, Carrie Geitner, said her husband is now in the reserves. She said she cannot imagine how Sgt. Sartor's wife must feel. "We cannot obviously replace him, we obviously can't lessen that loss, but we can definitely be here to show our support and to show them love," said Geitner.
The exact total for how much money raised has not yet been calculated. News 5 will keep you updated.
To learn more about Sgt. Sartor, visit our earlier article about the vigil.