Jazzed About Reading founder and local children’s author Annie Winston boarded a plane to fly across the country to Knoxville, Tennessee. Her reason was to celebrate and honor the 24th birthday of fallen Kabul 13 soldier Army Staff Sergeant Ryan Christian Knauss. Winston said, “I went because Ryan’s Mom, Paula Knauss Selph, invited both Alan Golub (the digital artist behind our Kabul 13 calendar) and me to attend. Alan couldn’t go, so I went representing both of us and our wonderful patriotic community in Coeur d’Alene.”
Winston has met almost half of the Kabul 13 families. Last month she returned from a trip to California and met with the families of Kareem Nikoui and Dylan Merola.
Over three hundred Kabul 13, 2023 Memorial calendars were shipped to Corryton, Tennessee (Ryan’s hometown) where the celebration took place. Family owned and operated Weigel’s gas stations and convenience stores sponsored the event and hosted it at their location in Corryton. A special table was set up for Winston, so attendees could stop by and pick up a calendar and make a donation.
The Kabul 13 Memorial calendar was created by local Coeur d’Alene artist, Alan Golub, who told the fallen soldier’s story in pictures while Winston told their story in words. She wrote a summary of each of the soldiers’ lives for the calendar month of the featured soldier.
Winston was quick to point out that all of the profits from the sales go to the thirteen families. Many of them have already started charities in honor of their fallen soldier.
Ryan’s birthday celebration began on an early cloudy Saturday morning, April 9th. The event was kicked off with a Veteran processional ride to Weigel’s gas station in Corryton, Tennessee. Local news stations showed up to interview participants. Some of them were community supporters and others had flown in from all over the country including Ryan’s family members, his Mom Paula Knauss Selph and Ryan’s Dad Greg Knauss. Other Kabul 13 families, the Espinoza’s and the Soviaks also attended. Prayer and scripture reading was led by Justin Pratt, Senior Pastor at Clear Springs Baptist church in Corryton, Tennessee. Tim Burchett, a Representative from Indiana, and Becky Massey, a Tennessee State Senator were also present in addition to Blue Star Mothers, Glenn Jacobs (Mayor of Knox County), and country western stars, Con Hunley, Scott Mac Brown, and Coffey Anderson who sang his hit song “Red, White, and Blue.”
to read the rest, please subscribe