Hero Lt. Ryan Rawl killed in Afghanistan, honored in Columbia on Independence Day

By Karamie Sullivan

About 150 people came to the S.C. State House Tuesday morning for the fifth annual Ryan Rawl Memorial Event.

It was created to honor Deputy/First Lt. Ryan Rawl, of Lexington, who was killed in Afghanistan by a suicide bomber June 20, 2012.

After registration, a presentation of the flag was made followed by a speech by Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott. Rawl’s mother, Diane Rawl, also spoke.

By 8 a.m., participants embarked on a series of stations around the State House, each being a different boot camp-style challenge. The difficulty of the challenges was set up to honor the determination and sacrifice for the country’s military heroes. Each station’s challenge could be scaled down or modified to fit the participants’ fitness abilities.

Many participants completed the work out to pay their respects to Rawl, a man they did not know. Scott McNabb is a farmer from Leesville. He particpated and brought his family out for the event.

Photos by Karamie Sullivan. 

I decided to do this to honor a fallen hero. As easy as it would be to sleep in and not come, I wanted to do the harder thing, just like he did,” McNabb said. “I decided to get up, show up, and do something wonderful on the Fourth of July.”

There were multiple police officers who came out to the event, and many who participated. Richland County Sheriff’s Deputy Brittany Jackamonis was Rawl’s former coworker. She said she completes in the event every year as a way to remember him.

Why not on Independence Day, where everyone gets to celebrate being free, come out here to honor this soldier and all soldiers who are still out fighting for our freedom,” said Jackamonis.

The Rawl family is thankful to the many people who came out to honor Ryan, said Diane Rawl. She described everyone in attendance as being the “best people in the world.”

Rawl’s father, Stanley and his brother, Stan, also participated in the workout.

The event proceeds and donations will benefit scholarships in honor of Ryan Rawl supported by the Ryan Rawl Freedom Run.