This week KCBD would like to honor Army specialist Brian Wilhelm as our "Hometown Hero." As soon as Brian graduated from Coronado High School in 2010, he enlisted in the Army, anxious and ready to serve his country.
"He's wanted to join the Army ever since I can remember… as far back as second or third grade," said Brian's father Richard. "When he completed his junior year in high school he went down to the local recruiter and joined a program called Future Soldiers."
Just four weeks ago Brian was deployed to an area near the Afghanistan and Pakistan border.
"It was hard. It really hit me that my little boy was going to Afghanistan, that he's going to be carrying a gun around, and he's going to be around people who didn't want him there," said Lori, Brian's mother.
During Brian's nine month deployment, he will serve as a machine gunner and humvee driver, navigating the IED littered terrain.
"He always says I'm fine, I'm safe, I'm happy… but we know with news reports that he's not safe. He just recently lost a friend last week," Lori said.
As a reminder of Brian's service and what he stands for, an American flag stands in front of the Wilhelm home.
"One of the last things Brian did with me is he helped me install this flag," Richard said. "Every time I walk out the door in the morning I think about not only just Brian but every young American overseas fighting."
While Brian goes on numerous missions, here at home his sister is also on her own mission.
"My brother is my best friend. It was hard when he left," said his older sister Amber.
On Wednesday, Amber held an event called "Mission: Care Package" where people were able to donate items to fill care packages that will be sent to Brian's platoon.
"Just to show how selfless these soldiers are, they're asking for things for the kids over in Afghanistan. It means a lot to me because they're also talking about needing pillows and blankets, but at the same time they want to take care of those kids over there too," said Amber.
It's just one more reason why Brian Wilhelm is this week's Hometown Hero.
"I'm so very proud of him. He joined during war time in the infantry knowing he would be in harm's way," said Lori. "He's proud to be an American, he's proud to be a soldier and that just makes him my hero."
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