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“He had a magnetic smile” says Ryan Knauss’ former teacher

Knoxville WVLT-TV logo Knoxville WVLT-TV 8/31/2021 Sam Luther
a screen shot of a man in a suit and tie: Dean Harned taught Ryan at Gibbs High School © Provided by Knoxville WVLT-TV Dean Harned taught Ryan at Gibbs High School

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Ryan Knauss was a graduate of Gibbs High School in 2016, and lost his life in Afghanistan at the Kabul airport last week.

Ryan’s teacher Dean Harned calls Ryan a hero, someone who had a magnetic smile, and someone who always showed respect.

“Lots of yes sir’s and no sir’s very respectful”, says Harned, adding, “There is no better representative of the Gibbs community than Ryan. He was the greatest among us.”

As a Staff Sergeant in the Army’s 82 Airborne division, Ryan had been in Afghanistan for about a week before a suicide bombing took his life, and the lives of 12 other American servicemembers outside the airport in Kabul.

The 23-year-old had previously spent nine months in Afghanistan, his grandmother said.

Since his death, he’s been honored across East Tennessee. some businesses setting aside empty tables to honor those fallen 13 servicemembers, while others lower their flags, and the pedestrian bridge over Henley Street was lit up in red, white, and blue.

No official funeral arrangements have been announced, but the family says Ryan will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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