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School gym named for Jeremy Brown
Brown was killed by enemy fire in Afghanistan last May.

The dedication ceremony to name Bobby Ray Memorial Elementary School’s gymnasium in memory of Spc. Jeremy Brown brought tears to those in attendance.
“It was just wonderful,” said Mac Brown, the father of Jeremy. “It was unbelievable and humbling. Everyone put their hearts into this program and you could feel it. We appreciate everything the school and the community has done for Jeremy and us. He would have loved this.”
Spc. Brown was killed in Afghanistan last May when insurgents attacked his group. He was just days away from his 21st birthday.
“We had 20 years with Jeremy,” said Mac. “We wanted more, but we are so thankful for what we got. It’s really difficult for Rhonda and I to express our feelings. It drains the life out of you to lose a child. I don’t think you ever get over it.”
The ceremony began with opening remarks from Bobby Ray principal Beverly Ramsey, which was followed by recognition of visitors, presentation of colors by the 101st Airborne Color Guard, Pledge of Allegiance and presentations.
Spc. Brandon Lopez, a member of Jeremy’s platoon, was on patrol with him when they were attacked. He was asked to say a few words.
“Jeremy was a battle buddy to us, a comrade, a brother in arms,” said Lopez, who seemed somewhat shaken by the words. “Specialist Brown was taken from us way before his time. He was a great soldier and the best border observer I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with.”
Lopez referred to a poem about a fallen soldier being forgotten.
“I thought to myself, not Brown,” he said. “No would who has ever met Jeremy Brown would forget him.”
Lopez read the last stanza, “Fallen soldier all alone. Fallen soldier far from home. Lying motionless on the ground with battle raging all around. For now, he is not all alone. This fallen soldier’s welcome home.”
“Jeremy is one in a million,” he added. “Having Brown around was always pretty fun. He was a comical person, very entertaining. He brought a lot of morale to the company. He will be missed sorely by all of us.”
Lopez choked up. With broken words and slight moments of pause to contain his emotion, he related the day the platoon was attacked by insurgents and Jeremy’s lost his life.
“Delta company, as a whole, is truly sorry for your loss,” he said to Jeremy’s parents. “Mac and Rhonda, although you lost a son, you have gained a company of sons. If you ever need anything, just know we are here for you.”
During the event, several patriotic songs were played by the Warren County High School Band, including “Star Spangled Banner,” “The Armed Forces Solute,” and “God Bless the USA.” Also, fourth and fifth grade students lined the upper bleachers and sang “We Remember.”
The Browns were presented with a memorial quilt that was signed by students and facility members at Bobby Ray School. Then, they were given the honor of unveiling the dedication sign placed inside the gym.
After the ceremony, Capt. John Hintz explained why Lopez was so emotional during his presentation.
“The day we were attacked Lopez was shot in the leg,” he said. “He survived, but Brown did not. It was a tough day for all of us, but we thought it was fitting that Lopez spoke today.”
Platoon and family members were invited into the school’s library for refreshments. At that time, Lopez presented Jeremy’s parents with a special walking stick he was given and used during his recovery.
Spc. Brown was a not only a member of the United States Army and a Warren County resident, he was a student at Bobby Ray Elementary.
“I think it was every important to have the children participate in this ceremony,” said Ramsey. “They remember lining the street the day of Jeremy’s funeral. It teaches them patriotism and the importance of honoring those that give of themselves for our freedom.”
Warren County School director Dr. Jerry Hale was one of several school and county officials in attendance during the ceremony.
“It was a great program,” he said. “It was very moving and very much deserved.”
The ceremony was held Thursday morning at 9 a.m. Signs dedicating the gym to Spc. Jeremy Brown now hang on the outside and inside of the gym.
WCPI 91.3 FM will be broadcasting the dedication ceremony today at 2:05 p.m. and Monday at 10:05 a.m.