Updated: Monday, 21 Sep 2009, 1:41 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 21 Aug 2009, 6:29 AM EDT
MIDDLEVILLE, Mich (WOOD) - Cpl. Nick Roush's body returned home to West Michigan on Friday,
with mourners gathered along the route from the airport to pay
their respects to the 22-year-old killed in Afghanistan.
Roush died Sunday in Herat, Afghanistan after a improvised explosive device exploded near his vehicle.
Mourners lined the procession route from the Gerald R. Ford
International Airport to the First Baptist Church, 5215 N. M-37,
north of Middleville.
A Middleville native, Roush was last home at Easter. He left for Afghanistan after his visit.
The Roush family asked for people to line the route between the airport and Middleville. One of his church sponsors from junior high was among the crowd. Josh Randall said " Well it's important to us. Nicky was, we were his junior high sponsors at church at Middleville and like they say it's teaching our kids respect for what he's done for our country."
The procession itself was attended by police cars and fire equipment from multiple departments and an honor guard of dozens of motorcycles.
At Cpl Roush's home church in Middleville, First Baptist, hundreds waited along a highway lined with flags.
There was no ceremony planned for the church but it was a place for people to gather and they did after the procession arrived. People stood quietly for the next half hour, paying their respects to the fallen soldier, to his family.
"I remember when I was a little girl the whole town coming out for my uncle robert' who was on the Arizona at Pearl Harbor and when something like this comes up we do what we can for our servicemen" said Mary Ann Quinlan.
Among the crowds were people who knew Nick Roush and his family and those who didn't but wanted to be there---a kind of common bond crafted from tragedy. Some of those people were connected as well by their faith.
"We're friends of the family but they're fellow christians and we just came to, when somebody is hurting we're all hurting" said Aaron Smith.
Roush is survived by his parents, Bob and Donna, and his brothers, Bobby and Kyle.
Visitation will be held from 5-8 p.m. Sunday, and noon-2 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. Monday at First Baptist Church, in Middleville.
Roush's funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday. The service will be streamed live on woodtv.com
His burial will be at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Middleville with full military honors.