By Ron Matz

COCKEYSVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — He loved Baltimore, his family, and his country, and on this day in 2009, Army Corporal Christopher Coffland was killed in action in Afghanistan.

Family and friends gathered Tuesday on Dulaney Valley Rd. near the Loch Raven Reservoir to remember the soldier from Timonium and to dedicate a bridge in his name.

“My brother was a selfless, strong, and honest human being who defied all odds,” said Lynn Coffland, Christopher’s sister. “His spirit lives on every single day.”

Coffland played football at Gilman, pursued a doctorate in Anthropology at Washington State, and traveled the world. He was 41 years old when he joined the Army in 2007.

He was killed two years later on Nov. 13 by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

“He wanted to serve our country,” said Lynn. “After 9/11 he felt that he could take the place of a father who might have a family back in the states here and he enlisted.

Signs bearing his name were erected on each end of the bridge last week. The dedication is a project of the Catch A Lift Fund, a nonprofit founded by Lynn a year after her brother’s death.

“Very proud to be here and spend my time honoring Chris and the veterans who serve our country and collaborate with them to make a difference,” said Willie Franklin, chairman of the Catch A Lift Fund. “We’ve got a long way to go, but we are certainly making some progress.”

Catch A Lift provides fitness grants and mentorship to veterans to help them acclimate to civilian life. To date, the Catch A Lift Fund has given more than 4,500 fitness grants to deserving men and women who have served our country.

“I joined the Catch A Lift program back in 2014 and I’ve been in the program ever since,” said retired U.S. Army Major Rob Fessock. “It’s a great program. It helps veterans. His legacy is what makes us survive. We heal through physical fitness, it’s a great thing.”

The bridge on Dulaney Valley Rd. carries traffic over the Loch Raven reservoir. It was a favorite fishing spot for Christopher Coffland and his friends.

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