Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Army pilot killed by car was grateful for hometown support

1st LT James A. Garvey
The U.S. Army lieutenant killed by a car Sunday wrote earlier this year to express gratitude to those in his hometown of Ridgefield who supported him overseas.

First Lt. James A. Garvey, son of William Garvey and Tamara Eberlein of Florida Hill Road and a 2008 Ridgefield High School graduate, was struck by a car while on foot on I-40 in Nashville, Tenn., according to police there. He was based at Ft. Campbell, Ky., and lived in Nashville.

His obituary describes him as “a joyful person” who, in addition to his parents, leaves a twin sister, Samantha, and two brothers, Michael and John, as well as grandparents and extended family.

He was serving Afghanistan where he flew combat helicopter missions when he wrote an open letter to the town and sent it for printing in The Ridgefield Press. His letter appeared in the March 13 paper.

“To the Good People of Ridgefield: Hello from Forward Operating Base Fenty, Afghanistan!” he wrote. “Some weeks ago, I received packages from the NCL Nutmeg Chapter and the Ridgefield Lions Club. Inside were dozens upon dozens of letters, postcards, and drawings from residents of the town wishing me a safe and happy holiday season and thanking the troops overseas for their service. …

“Reading each of your messages left me with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude toward the people who have been my friends and neighbors for most of my life. Not every day here is easy, but during the more difficult times I open up the envelopes, look through the letters and cards again and am reminded of exactly whom I joined the Army to defend and protect.

“While it has been a few years since I ‘officially’ resided in Fairfield County, your generosity and compassion have reminded me yet again that, no matter where in the world I might stake my tent, Ridgefield will always be my home.”

First Lt. Garvey graduated with honors from the University of Connecticut in 2012, after attending on an Army ROTC scholarship. During his recent nine-month deployment to Afghanistan, he served as an AH-64 Apache helicopter pilot in combat and as a maintenance test pilot, and he headed a helicopter maintenance platoon.

Upon graduating from Ridgefield High School in 2008, James Garvey, who had served as a student government representative, was awarded the RHS Service to Student Union Scholarship, and honors for Excellence in Advanced Placement Economics, Excellence in Political Issues in Literature, and honors for Achievement in Rhetoric and Composition.

While growing up in Ridgefield, he attended the Georgetown Martial Arts Center, receiving his black belt in kempo karate in 2008.

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