Summerville High School teacher remembers Army Ranger who died while serving in Afghanistan

Dorchester County News

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – President Joe Biden is expected to award the Medal of Honor to three heroes this month. One of them is Army Ranger Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Andrew Celiz of Summerville.

Celiz graduated from Summerville High School in 2004 and attended The Citadel from 2004 to 2006.

He later died from wounds he received in Paktia Province, Afghanistan, during a firefight with Taliban militants in July 2018.

One of his former teachers at the high school recalled his time with Celiz. “Chris was a student in my AP United States history class in 2002, 2003, I believe,” said Jimmie Lewis, who taught Celiz in the 11th grade.

Lewis, who still teaches at Summerville High, said Celiz helped to make the classroom a fun place to be.

“He was a lively sort of individual, but he always seemed to be in a really good mood and so that great attitude was always something that sort of sticks out to me about Chris,” he recalled.

He remembered him as being an honorable person. “As a kid, as a student, and choosing that path makes sense when it comes to Chris,” said Lewis.

His path put him in Afghanistan on July 12th, 2018. He was a combat engineer in the 75th Ranger Regiment. He left cover and put himself between a helicopter evacuating fellow soldiers and the Taliban.

He died when the Taliban began firing. He was 32 years old, and this was his 5th deployment.

Celiz has already been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. He will soon be awarded the highest medal of valor, the Medal of Honor.

“That’s amazing,” said Lewis. “I did not know he had gained that much. As far as achievements but again it just speaks to who he was and what he was all about.”

He went on to say, “Without him in it, the world is a little bit less- but hopefully, we can remember folks like Chris who bring that kind of light to the world, and we can all be better people because of it.”

President Biden could officially award Celiz with the Medal of Honor as soon as December 16th.

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