Chesterland community remembers fallen solider

Chesterland community remembers fallen solider

CHESTERLAND, OH (WOIO) - Residents in the Chesterland community continue to line their streets in honor of a fallen solider and  his family.

Chesterbrook Road and nearby is decorated with flags to commemorate the sacrifice Christopher Thibodeau.

The 28-year-old Chief Warrant Officer was killed in a helicopter crash while serving in Afghanistan on May 26th 2011, days before Memorial Day.

His parents Doreen and Bob said they are grateful for their neighbors who create the display each year.

"The anniversary of his death was last Thursday so it brings this memorial day full circle," said Doreen.

After they learned about his death 5 years ago, Kim Ludwig and her neighbors, surrounded Thibodeau's house and the nearby homes with flags.

It's a tradition they've continued every year  on the day he was born they day he died and veteran's day.

"We decided we had to something to show the family and to say we appreciate this sacrifice," said Ludwig.

Most of the neighbors including Ludwig and Bob Steinfurth are committed to the annual display even though they never met Thibodeau.

"Never knew him but there are millions like him," said Bob Steinfurth.

Even after memorial day the community keeps their flags up for two weeks to remember Thibodeau's sacrifice.

The display helps the Thibodeau's get through the holiday.

Thibodeau left behind a wife and his son Liam who was born months after he was killed.

"Liam is Chris' legacy," said Doreen Thibodeau.

Now four, Thibodeau says Liam celebrates Memorial day by letting balloons into the sky for his father.

The family says Thibodeau's service and sacrifice has forever changed the meaning of memorial day for this community.

"Freedom doesn't come without a price tag and the people who are left behind pay the biggest. We just want them to know how much we appreciate them," said Ludwig.

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