Franklin woman remembers husband who died in Iraq


It's been 16 years since Ginger Gilbert Ruvella's late husband was killed in combat. Major Troy Gilbert was killed in Iraq in 2006 when his fighter jet crashed.
Published: May. 30, 2022 at 8:09 PM CDT
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FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WSMV) - It’s been 16 years since Ginger Gilbert Ruvella’s husband was killed in combat.

Major Troy Gilbert was killed in Iraq in 2006 when the F-16 fighter jet he was flying crashed. Gilbert died while defending an air force unit that was under attack.

“He was a war hero, but he was our hero because he was a great dad and a great husband,” Ruvella said. “He saved the day for over 20 special operators, and they all went home to their families even though Troy didn’t come home to ours.”

Gilbert left behind five kids, all younger than 8 years old when he passed away.

Ruvella said the children’s dad lives on through the stories she tells them every day.

‘He lives in this house, even though he’s not here, but I’ve made my kids know that we really honor him not by pictures plastered all over the wall, but by living and loving and serving the way that he did with the home that we see him again,” Ruvella said.

She said that Gilbert died doing what he loved. He was driven by protecting people and his country.

“I know that when I go visit him at Arlington that he lies among many war heroes, many men and women who felt that same way, had that same calling, on the same mission,” Ruvella said. “Even though our country is messy at times, I love it and he loved it, and I’m so thankful to be an American and was proud to serve his country.”

Ruvella said every day is Memorial Day in their home, but their family appreciates the community rallying around them each year. She also is thankful for the scholarships their children have received through the Folded Flag Foundation, an organization that helps Gold Star Families pay for their children’s education.

“It’s expensive putting five kids through school, so I’m just super grateful for the Folded Flag Foundation for what they’ve done for our family,” Ruvella said. “I think what they are doing and what all of us are called to do is just to live a life worthy of the sacrifices that were made by the men and women of this great nation.”

Ruvella has a heart for helping other widows of service members. She works with an organization called Never Alone Widows to help support women as they navigate life after loss.

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