Local Hero Remembered
A stone memorial for US Army Specialist and Gainesville native, Christopher Todd Neiberger, now sits in the front entrance of his Northwest Gainesville neighborhood, where his friends and family watched the young boy grow into the man and soldier he became before his life was cut short.
Neiberger had just celebrated his 22nd birthday when he was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq in August of last year. The community has honored him in numerous ways, even naming the road that leads into Gainesville High School after Neiberger.
Years before he was a specialist in the U.S. Army, Neiberger was already acting as a protector and putting the concerns of others before his own.
"I was always the youngest person growing up in the street," said Chad Chancey, neighbor. "It was me, my brother, and all of the Neiberger boys. And everybody always kind of looked after me, especially Chris. Making sure that nobody messed with me, and making sure I had a good time."
During the summers, you could find Christopher in the streets of the Ridgewood subdivision in Northwest Gainesville where he grew up.
"We always used to play street hockey growing up," said Adam Chancey, neighbor. "We spent quite a few summers and years doing that."
It seems only fitting that a stone memorial honoring Neiberger's life now sits at the front entrance of the neighborhood.
"So many of our neighbors have wonderful memories of not only Chris, but my other brothers as well," said Ami Neiberger-Miller, Christopher's sister. "And how the blonde boys would run up and down the street and play with a herd of other kids that ran from house to house and made noise and had fun. And I think the whole neighborhood mourned when Chris was killed, and it's very fitting that such a tribute would be made for him on Memorial Day."
Last August, Ami Neiberger-Miller has started working for the Tragedy Assistance Program For Survivors, which is a non-profit organization in Washington D.C. that works with families who have lost loved ones serving in the military. For more information on that organization, visit their website at TAPS.org.