On this day of remembrance, I thought I would take time out to remember two soldiers who fell in the line of duty, both of whom I knew in high school.

Mickel Garrigus, a soft spoken and honorable young man was killed some months ago while serving in Iraq. While I didn’t know Mike well, we were on good terms. He was “Garrigus” to me and he would unfailingly smile and chat in the halls. As Garrigus was one of the kindest young men in my small high school, it does not surprise me that he went on to devote himself to family and country.

The second, Matthew Walrod, I was fortunate enough to count as a friend. A Knowledge Bowl teammate, Walrod (as everyone called him) was slightly awkward socially, but at bottom a devoted and caring young man. He was a great teammate who learned his role and worked hard to help our team win. In retrospect, Walrod was the sort of guy who would have struggled to be enemies with anyone.

A Staff-Sargeant in the Air Force, Walrod volunteered to serve in Honduras. As he was a medical technician, Walrod was dubbed “Doc” by those he worked on. It is just the sort of name I imagine suiting Walrod well, and the sort of profession that perfectly fit his kind, generous and helpful temperment.

Walrod was killed in a March 2006 car accident. These are the two men whom I keep in mind when I pray for my friends who are currently serving in the armed services, including our very own Tex. Walrod and Garrigus were kind as high schoolers and obviously grew to be good men. Devoted Christians, both, I look forward to the day when I am able to thank them in person for their sacrifice and service.

(Updated:  Silly spelling errors corrected.  Thanks, Jim!).

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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.


  1. A moving tribute.

    Although I had not seen Matt Walrod since high school, the news of his death was shocking and the world seems somehow different to me knowing that Walrod is not in it. What I most appreciated about him (and disliked at the time) was that he was always trying. When the wrestling team needed someone in the 101 weight class, he tried it for a while, getting pinned in most of his matches, but he tried. He struck me as the type who did not have the most natural talent but would succeed ultimately by sheer force of will.

    I cannot speculate about the character of the person that Walrod grew into after the brief period of time during which we were friends but the work that he was doing in Honduras attests to the quality of that character. Admittedly, we had our conflicts but I would have greeted him warmly at our class reunion.

    But he will not be there.


  2. wdepickert,

    It’s interesting how one quality can be simultaneously endearing and irritating. Your description of Walrod is well put, as is this line: “the world seems somehow different to me knowing that Walrod is not in it.” I was thinking that all day, but wasn’t able to put it into words until I read your comment. Thanks.


  3. […] I remember two such individuals here. […]


  4. […] from last year.  See also my remembrance of two fallen friends, and Dustin Steeve’s thoughtful post over at Evangelical […]


  5. I was an American living in La Ceiba, Honduras at the time of this accident and was with Matt as he died. Could you send me an email? I’m trying to find his family to write a letter to them. Thanks.


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