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      Fallen soldier to be honored

      He was a soldier, policeman, a father, a husband.

      But when Sergeant First Class James Priestap was deployed to Iraq, his friends and family would have to face the reality that he wasn't coming back.

      â??There was a knock at the door. I remember when I realized who was there and what they probably were going to tell me,â?? explained wife, Connie Priestap-Murray. â??I actually turned around and started running away, and my dad grabbed my arm and said, 'Connie, he might just be wounded,â??â?? said Connie.

      But Sergeant Priestap was killed on Thanksgiving Day in 2006 by a sniper's bullet while on duty in Baghdad. His bravery and heroic service is remembered by all who knew and loved him, but there was something more to be done about this extraordinary hero.

      "Iâ??m very pleased that visitors to the world-class VA hospital in Iron Mountain will soon be able to remember a true hero here in northern Michigan,â?? explained Congressman Dan Benishek, â??who laid down his life so others could live in freedom.â??

      Brad Nelson, with the Oscar G. Johnson Medical Center, explained the honoring of Priestap.

      "We are going to be naming our circle drive here at the Medical Center in honor of Sergeant Priestap,â?? said Nelson.

      Sergeant Priestap was employed at the VA in Iron Mountain as a police officer. Fellow coworkers said that he was an extraordinary employee.

      â??If anybody needed help, they could call on Jim,â?? explained coworker Jeffrey Aalto. â??He gave the ultimate sacrifice for his kids, his family and the VA here.â??

      A memorial service will be held at the VA on Saturday, May 25 at 9 a.m. to honor the man so dedicated to his family, work, and country that he was willing to sacrifice his life for those he loved.