Area Hero Laid To Rest

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A community said its final farewells to Stephen F. Byus this past weekend after the Wellston native was killed in Afghanistan on Sept. 16.

Byus, 39, grew up on Michigan Avenue and was a member of the graduating class of 1993 at Wellston High School. He later moved with his family around three years ago to the Reynoldsburg area in order to be closer to work.

Byus had volunteered to assist the Afghan National Army in improving its logistics capabilities and was employed by the Defense Logistics Agency. He had been deployed from DLA Land and Maritime in Columbus and was a member of the United States Navy Reserves on his third tour of duty in the Middle East at the time of his death.

He is survived by his wife of 12 years, Valerie Fouty Byus; two children, 9-year-old Alexandrea Nicole and 6-year-old Jacob Aaron; his parents, Randall W. (Bonnie) Byus of Wellston and Suzanna Price Byus of Coalton; brothers, Matthew Byus of Cambridge, Vt. and Daniel and Randall J. Byus, both of Coalton.

During Byus’s celebration of life service at Wellston High School on Sunday, John Pelletier gave the invocation and words of praise and grace. Byus’ lifelong friend, Nick Rupert, gave words of remembrance and praise as well. Capt. Richard Barlament, Commanding Officer, DFAS 209, also spoke about Byus and his service.

Following the service, many mourners from the funeral were transported to the cemetery in four Wellston City School buses. The procession followed.

People paying their respects stood with American flags with their hands across their hearts as the funeral procession passed. Some knew Byus, while some never met the man; they were just showing their appreciation for his sacrifice.

Young and old alike stood quietly as the funeral procession made its way to Fairmount Cemetery.

Jackson area Boy Scout and Girl Scout organization members were scattered along the entrance of the cemetery, holding large American flags that waved in the breeze as the funeral procession made its way to the burial site.

A 21-gun salute took place; a bugler played “Taps”; and a bagpipe player played “Amazing Grace” as the Navy's pallbearers brought Byes to his final resting place and mourners committed a hero to the ground.