Conway, Arkansas, US
United States Army
PVT, Army’s Hometown Recruiter Assistance Program
Conway, US, 06/01/2009
The day before he died, U.S. Army Pvt. William Andrew “Andy” Long floated the Buffalo River with his sister, Vanessa Rice. If he had his way, she said, the pair would have gone skydiving.
“I’m so blessed to have had that day with Andy,” Rice tearfully told guests at her brother’s funeral Monday at Harlan Park Baptist Church in Conway. “My brother meant the world to me. Andy loved to be outdoors, to travel, and he couldn’t wait to get to Korea to serve his country.”
The service was followed by a burial with full military honors Monday at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in North Little Rock.
Long, 23, of Conway, was shot and killed June 1 outside a west Little Rock recruiting office. The church’s sanctuary was filled with Long’s family and friends, fellow armed service members, and government officials, including Governor Mike Beebe and U.S. Representative Vic Snyder.
Pastor Johnny Harrington of Long’s church, Sunny Gap Baptist Church in Conway, praised Long’s commitment to the Army and recent appointment to the Army’s Hometown Recruiter Assistance Program in Little Rock. He said Long is a fourth-generation armed services member. Long’s father, Daris Long, is retired from the U.S. Marine Corps.
“No one is more military, no one is more patriotic than this family right here,” Harrington said. “Military runs through their hearts and their blood. No one is more dedicated to it than they, and I know that they couldn’t be prouder of Andy and his desire to serve his country.
“I asked Daris what’s the one word he’d use to describe Andy, and he said two: Soldier and hero.” Long’s brother, Private First Class Triston Long of Fort Bliss, Texas, gave Long the cavalry branch insignia badge on behalf of his own unit and in honor of Long’s Army service.
“My brother taught me valuable lessons and made me the man I am today,” Triston Long said. “My commander said, ‘Make your brother one of us.’ I will miss my brother with all that I am, and I serve in honor of him.