Put athletic dreams on hold to serve his country

The Associated Press

Andrew J. Roughton was known by his friends as “Tuna,” and for good reason.

“Whenever he went to a friend’s house, he would leave an unopened can of tuna fish behind, sometimes in a closet, sometimes in a bathroom,” said his father, Mark Roughton. “I have no idea why, it was just sort of his signature.”

Roughton, 21, of Houston, died July 20 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, when a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle. He was assigned to Fort Drum, N.Y.

He was an athlete at Spring Woods High School and graduated in 2006 with dreams of proving that a small offensive guard could make it on the college gridiron. But he put that dream aside, left a scholarship at Trinity Valley Community College and joined the Army to support his young wife, Heather, when she became pregnant. Despite a miscarriage, he didn’t second-guess the decision, his father said.

Friends say Roughton always tried to be positive and keep people smiling.

“If you knew Andrew, he was a cutup,” his father said. “If you didn’t know Andrew, he’d make you his friend.”

He is survived by his wife, his father and a stepbrother.