PHILOMATH, Ore. - Hundreds of friends, family and acquaintances lined Main Street in Philomath on Thursday to honor a fallen Army Ranger.
It was a solemn homecoming for 24-year-old Pfc. Cody James Patterson, who was among four soldiers killed while on a combat mission to stop a suicide bomber who was planning an attack.
Even before the crowd gathered you could see by the signs, flags and yellow ribbons that Philomath was ready to welcome home their hero.
"He could always make people laugh," said friend Kim Adams. "He was great with people. He was very comforting and loving and caring and supportive."
Patterson was born in Corvallis and graduated from Philomath High School in 2007.
"He was very involved with doing good for this community," said Jon Bartlow, the high school's assistant principal. "He raised money for Doernbecher Children's Hospital when he was a part of our Mr. PHS Program, and he also worked for sixth graders in outdoor school."
Patterson joined the Army as an infantryman on Jan. 3, 2012, and was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, at Fort Benning, Ga. in November 2012.
The deadly attack happened Oct. 6 in the Zhari district of Afghanistan. It was Patterson's second deployment in Afghanistan. He was posthumously awarded the Combat Infantryman's Badge, Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Purple Heart and NATO Medal.
Patterson's funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at Oregon State University's LaSells Steward Center. The public is welcome. A USO representative said 90 rangers from the 2nd Battalion at Joint Base Lewis-McChord will be there to help lay Patterson to rest.
Gov. John Kitzhaber has ordered flags at half-staff across Oregon on Sunday in honor of Patterson.
"Pfc. Patterson was a proud Army Ranger dedicated to serving his country," Kitzhaber said. "His commitment to his fellow soldiers and personal courage is inspiring, and his death is a tragic loss. I ask all Oregonians to pause this Sunday and recognize his legacy of service and sacrifice."