Watertown, New York, US
United States Army
SSGT, 10th Mountain Division, 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment.
Watertown, US, 02/09/2008
When my brother was killed it turned our world upside down it literally broke my moms heart She had a stroke a short time after his passing. He was our world, an amazing man, a father to a beautiful little girl, a son to parents who loved him dearly, a brother to myself and my brother, a friend, and an amazing soldier.
He was my best friend growing up. We are 5 years apart but you could never tell. I went with him everywhere and it was never the “this is my little sister I have to bring her mom said” if I didn’t get ready to go wherever he was going it was a “aren’t you going to get ready? Why aren’t you going” Even in high school when football and girls became more important than his family like most teenage boys he made time for us taking my mom to dinner, taking me shopping taking me to pick out all his stuff for proms etc.
He took a trip 5 hours away with his best friend and came back enlisted in the Army. No one had a clue he wanted to sign up but his eyes were lit up with pride so what could we say? Nothing we were just proud for him. He joined in 1997 as soon as he was old enough…he was a lifer this was his calling. He came back from basic training and AIT with presents for everyone. He never forgot anyone and when he got off that plane coming back from AIT he was no longer my teenage geeky brother, he was a man. Even at my young age I could tell that. He had changed and was a Soldier.
He got assigned to Ft. Bragg and that’s where he met his wife and had a beautiful daughter Sydney. From there he went Germany, and then to Ft. Drum, NY where he left for his tours of duty.
He came back not the same man he left. He was on the front lines he saw things no man should ever see yet he still tried to be himself but you could see in his eyes that he was changed. He was suffering from PTSD and was scared of getting help for it as it would be on his record and being a lifer that would scar everything. He had a flashback one night and was shot and killed 4 months shy of his 30th Birthday.
I remember the day vividly I was on the couch with my 2 month old baby when my phone rang it was my mother. Usually when she calls at 8pm at night she’s bored and doesn’t want much so I ignore it but this time my hand went to it without me moving it. I answered it and heard crying. I laid my son down and said “whats wrong?” All I heard was “your brothers gone”.
“Thats not funny mom not funny at all”
“I’m serious he’s gone he was killed a few hours ago”
Thats when I hit the floor bawling. The next thing I know there was a knock on the door as they couldn’t find my mothers house. They found min. Next to a man in uniform I saw a chaplain. I was numb. I’m still numb. My mom has never healed and we are not sure when she will.
He was such an amazing man and to be taken from us so suddenly and so young it’s hard to deal with. Very hard to deal with. I would love a portrait of my beautiful brother to frame and give to my mother and maybe she can hang it up. She after 2 years has just brought his flag out and for people to see but its still semi-hidden. It’s so hard. Please if you have the time if we could get a portrait of him it would mean the absolute world to us.
Dustin’s portrait is also on Poster 8