LANSING  – Governor Gretchen Whitmer has ordered U.S. and Michigan flags to be lowered to half-staff on Tuesday, October 8, 2019 to honor the service of Army Staff Sgt. Kelly Richards, which will coincide with his military funeral.

“Staff Sgt. Richards embodied everything that makes our state so great, and his passing is a tremendous loss,”Whitmer said. “He was a leader through and through who maintained a commitment to bettering himself and his team to make sure that they were prepared at all times. 

"We are grateful for his service, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”

A resident of Grayling, Staff Sgt. Richards was currently serving as a health care specialist with the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry at Fort Carson in Colorado. He was deployed to the Middle East under Operation Spartan Shield. Staff Sgt. Richards passed away on Wednesday, September 25 at the age of 32 years old while competing for an expert field medical badge at Camp Casey in Seoul, South Korea. 

Staff Sgt. Richards was born in Petoskey and raised in Boyne City and Grayling. He joined the army after graduating from Grayling High School in 2005. He loved outdoor activities, including riding his motorcycle, mountain biking, scuba diving, surfing, and roller coasters. Staff Sgt. Richards is survived by his wife, Rachel, mom and stepdad, Michelle and Andrew, father and stepmother, Todd and Judy, and nine siblings.

The State of Michigan recognizes the duty, honor, and selfless service of Staff Sgt. Richards by lowering flags to half-staff. Michigan residents, businesses, schools, local governments and other organizations also are encouraged to display the flag at half-staff. 

To lower flags to half-staff, flags should be hoisted first to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The process is reversed before the flag is lowered for the day. 

Flags should be returned to full-staff on Wednesday, October 9, 2019. 

- Richards photo courtesy of Lockwood-Sorenson Funeral Home in Grayling

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