HONORING A MARINE'S MEMORY
Voluntown - As U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Tyler Griffin was laid to rest Monday in Arlington National Cemetery, his hometown was coming together once again in his memory.
The Voluntown Fire Department began a collection to send a care package to Griffin's unit in Afghanistan.
"To me it's just typical Voluntown," Fire Chief Jody Grenier said. "Someone loses a loved one, the town just pulls together. We've done it for families in the past. It's what we do - we pull together and take care of one another like you're supposed to."
Griffin, a 19-year-old Voluntown native, was killed April 1 during combat operations in Afghanistan's Helmand province. His family accompanied his casket to Arlington, Va.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell ordered U.S. and state flags to be returned to full-staff Monday at dusk. She ordered the flags lowered April 3 in memory of Griffin.
People lined the town's streets April 12 as the hearse bringing Griffin home traveled through Voluntown to the Gagne-Piechowski Funeral Home in Jewett City. Many of Griffin's close friends were there, along with people who knew of him or who just wanted to pay their respects.
Hundreds of mourners stood outside the Voluntown Baptist Church on Wednesday to listen to Griffin's funeral service on a sound system. A Marine in attendance later mentioned at the public reception that deployed service members really enjoy getting things from people back home.
"A light went on," Grenier said. "I said, 'We can make that happen.'"
Griffin, a 2008 graduate of Griswold High School, was assigned to 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force based at Camp Lejeune, N.C. He had been a Marine for 18 months and was stationed in Afghanistan for about 30 days before he was killed. Another Marine, Sgt. Frank J. World, 25, of Buffalo, N.Y., also died.
"I just feel it will help them fill that void of losing one of their own, and it sends a message from Voluntown, where he's from, to other members of his unit," Grenier said. "It was noticed, and we're here to lift their spirits, I hope."
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