Fallen Heroes: Army Spc. Matthew Baylis of Oakdale

On May 31, 2007, Army Specialist Matthew Baylis was killed by enemy fire in Baghdad after saving the lives of four of his comrades. (5/24/14)

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WASHINGTON - An Oakdale father is honoring his fallen son in a special way.

On May 31, 2007, Army Spc. Matthew Baylis was killed by enemy fire in Baghdad after saving the lives of four of his comrades. He was 20 years old.

Matthew always wanted to fight for his country. His great-grandfather served in World War I. His grandparents served in World War II and his father served in the Vietnam war.

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A volunteer group known as the Patriot Guard Riders supported the Baylis family by attending Matthew's funeral.

The group pays tribute to departed heroes at their funerals. They also support the families left behind.

In the absence of his son, Baylis' father Richard decided to help military families in his fallen son's honor. He joined the Patriot Guard Riders.

"For me, I do it in the name of Matthew," Baylis said.

Volunteering with the Patriot Guard Riders has helped Baylis move forward without his son by carrying on Matthew's legacy of service.

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