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Dry Ridge soldier laid to rest

DRY RIDGE — Nearly 400 people paid their respects Saturday to a Kentucky National Guard soldier who was killed in Afghanistan, remembering him for his faith and his love of his two children.

Sgt. Daniel Wallace was killed Oct. 31 when his platoon was attacked by a group of Taliban fighters. He was assigned to the Kentucky National Guard's 201st Engineer Battalion.

The Dry Ridge native was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals and promoted to the rank of sergeant.

Gov. Steve Beshear last week ordered flags to half-staff on Saturday to honor both Wallace and Staff Sgt. Scott J. Metcalf, 36, of Framingham, Mass., who was killed Oct. 29 from injuries suffered in a noncombat-related incident in Iraq. Metcalf's funeral was scheduled Saturday in Clarksville, Tenn., with burial at the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery West in Hopkinsville. Metcalf, a unit supply specialist, was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.

Wallace's friends and family members gathered at the gymnasium of Grant County High School, where the 27-year-old graduated in 2001. Later they went to Kentucky Veterans Cemetery North in Williamstown for his burial.

Pastors spoke about Wallace's faith and how he became a born-again Christian. "He was an excellent man who served the Lord. He was a great man of God," said Roger Phelps with the Family Tabernacle Church of God in Glencoe.

Last week, Kentucky Adjutant General Edward Tonini said the guardsman, who was a gunner in a mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle, was shot when he got out to handle a piece of equipment that had been knocked loose.

He joined the National Guard in May 2006 and was on his first deployment.

Wallace's death marked the 17th member of the Kentucky National Guard to be killed in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001. He was the third to die in Afghanistan.

Wallace leaves behind two children, Abigail Wallace and Cody Mardis.

"He was a fun-loving guy," said Paula Fields, a friend of 20 years. "And his children meant everything to him."