The body of Army Staff Sgt. William R. "Billy" Wilson III, who was killed last week in Afghanistan, arrived home Tuesday afternoon and was transported to Amigone Funeral Home, 5200 Sheridan Drive, at Hopkins Road, Amherst.
Wilson, a seven-year veteran of the military from Getzville, was fatally shot March 26, when an Afghan security member apparently turned his weapon on Wilson.
But as Wilson's body was returned home, his loved ones, crushed by the loss, were focused on preparing to say a final goodbye, according to family spokesman Jeff Long.
In gratitude for the support of the community, the sergeant's parents, William R. Wilson Jr. and Kimberly Wilson of Getzville, issued this statement, wanting to share their personal thoughts about their son:
"Our family was devastated to learn that our son, Staff Sergeant Billy Wilson, was lost in the War on Terror in Afghanistan. At this moment, our time and attention is committed to grieving our son and trying to find peace in a world which can never be the same without him.
"As many of you know, Billy's life was marked by a willingness to put others before himself, to pursue duty over comfort, and to do what was right even when it was not convenient. At a time when old-fashioned virtues seem cliche and traditional values feel empty, our son's life showed that they have meaning still. His decency, his courage, his loyalty and his patriotism are a reminder that our family, and indeed our nation, could do no better than Billy.
"And of course, while we honor him for the values he represented, we remember Billy also, more simply, as our son. We remember his easy smile, his disarming demeanor, his hearty laugh and his contagious joy. We remember the kindness and glowing example he provided his brothers Jeremy and Wesley, the tenderness and compassion he showed his fiancee Jess, and the pride and happiness he brought us as parents.
"Finally, we are deeply moved by the outpouring of support, friendship and love we have received in the past week. We would like to thank the community, whose enduring and overwhelming support furnish a powerful reminder of the countless lives which Billy touched.
"We will soon bid Billy a final farewell and mourn a life tragically cut short. But we know that the memory of his life, and appreciation of his sacrifice, will not soon fade. We remain deeply grateful for your prayers and support, as our son makes his final journey."
Calling hours at Amigone will be 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. today and Thursday.
A service will follow at 10 a.m. Friday in The Chapel at CrossPoint, 500 Crosspoint Parkway, Getzville.