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'He had a lot of life left to live': Richmond family speaks after soldier killed in action

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) - RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) -- A Richmond family continues to mourn the loss of a Virginia Green Beret killed in action. Army Captain Andrew "Drew" Ross was killed in Afghanistan last November.

It's the news his family never wanted to hear.

"He had a lot of life left to live," said his mother, Beth Ross, who lives in Glen Allen. But it was a reality the Ross family knew was entirely possible.

"The things that we worry about and lose sleep about are exactly what happened," said B. Ross. 

"I know now that tomorrow's not promised," said Drew's wife, Felicia Ross.

Drew, a West Point graduate and decorated war veteran, has deep ties to Richmond, where both his mother and father live today.

His older sister, Sarah Geisen, is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University. 

"It's not like physically Drew was a mountain of a man when he got to West Point," said S. Geisen. "You know we're short but he became this mountain of a man. His personality was already that."

Drew's wife told 8News that military life was a new chapter for her.

"I really didn't know what I was getting myself into," said F. Ross. "I had never dealt with deployment before."

The news of Drew's death came just days after Thanksgiving 2018.

Those who loved him said Facetime helped them say goodbye, without them even realizing it.

"We were eating Thanksgiving leftovers and I took the iPad over and showed him the turkey leftovers," said his sister. Drew's wife Facetimed him that weekend, too.

"He was really looking forward to this mission," explained F. Ross. "They had planned for a long time." 

The Ross' say they're grateful for that kind of technology and how it helped hold Drew's memory close to their hearts. 

Some of those memories are from the day Drew and Felicia said "I do" last year.

When she learned of Drew's death, F. Ross said there were flowers from her husband still sitting on the table at their home.

"I haven't really found a lot that has made me happy yet," she said. "We're working on it though." 

This family takes life day-by-day. F. Ross is leaning on the other women in Drew's life to keep moving forward.

"This is my sister and my mom forever," F.Ross told 8News.

Despite the heartache, which is still felt by his family, Drew's mom says her son died doing what he loved and died for what he believed in.

"Not all of us can say that when we leave this world that we did exactly what we wanted to do," she said. "But Drew did."

The emotional value of pictures, videos, and memories with Drew is rising but family is grateful for the nearly three priceless decades spent with this American hero.

They're hoping wherever he is now, he's still smiling.

"I hope he's eating soft shell crabs, and or pizza, on a boat, near the water for sure," said Sarah and Felicia.

"He wouldn't want us to mourn him for too long," said Drew's mother. 

In January, Drew was added to the Wall of Honor at the Virginia War Memorial. The day of that ceremony, Jan. 26, was Drew's 30th birthday.

This Sunday, Feb. 17, will mark one year since Drew and Felicia were married.

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