Friday, October 27, 2006

Conrad Hollis

Remember Our Heroes

Fellow soldier, former principal remember Conrad Hollis

By Michael McCollum
Tuesday, October 31, 2006 11:26 AM CST

Danny Browning woke early Saturday morning to a call from one of his men in the Mississippi National Guard with the news that Conrad Hollis, a soldier under his command, had been shot and killed.

“I was his first sergeant and that's a call you never want to get,” said Browning who also coached Hollis on the New Hope High School football team. “Especially after all that boy has gone through for his country in Iraq and he's cut down by a low-life thug on the streets of America that he fought to defend.”

Hollis, 21, was shot to death shortly before 12:45 a.m. Saturday after leaving a concert on The University of Alabama campus, where he was enrolled as a freshman.

Hollis had attended a homecoming concert at the university with friends and was leaving the campus when the vehicle he was riding in rear-ended another vehicle, according to police.

The drivers did not file a report on the accident, and the vehicles left the scene. When the driver of the car Hollis was riding in got home, he noticed the other vehicle was following him.

Hollis got out of the car and was shot, police said.

“I was devastated when I got the news,” Browning said. “He was a real good kid and a first class soldier. I was with him in Iraq and he was one of the best soldiers I had. I was real proud of him.”

Hollis joined the armed forces in his junior year of high school and finished basic training right after graduating from New Hope High School in 2004. Browning added that Hollis had said his dream was to go to The University of Alabama.

“Conrad was doing what every soldier seems to do these days - put his time in, then get an education,” Browning said. “When he was in high school he came to me and asked about the military. I never pushed him, but I told him it better lead to an education.”

Lowndes County Schools Superintendent Mike Halford, who was Hollis' principal at New Hope High School, described Hollis as quiet and thoughtful.

“I knew Conrad not only as a student, but also as the child of a very close friend,” said Halford who stressed the past few days have been miserable. “He was always amicable and didn't say a whole lot, but he had a lot of ability.”

He noted that Hollis had become interested in serving his country while in high school and saw Browning as a role model.

“It's just a shame and it's hard to understand how he fulfilled his dream of serving his country and then was killed just one semester into fulfilling another dream of attending the University of Alabama.”

Hollis was the son of Eric and Sara Hollis of New Hope.

Conrad Hollis was killed on 10/27/06.

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