Liberalism is a Mental Disorder (AKA Politics Suck)

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Farewell American Hero

From Arizona Daily Star:

Farewell to able noncom 'walking with God now'

By Stephanie Innes
Arizona Daily Star

Tucson, Arizona | Published: 02.01.2007

Walking away from the grave where his younger brother was about to be lowered into the ground, 40-year-old Christopher Michael Borea wiped away tears and took off the green camouflage U.S. Army jacket he'd been wearing.

"I'm not worthy," he said, explaining it had been a gift from his brother. "My brother was a better man than me. He's walking with God now."

Borea's brother, Army Sgt. 1st Class Russell P. Borea, died Jan. 19 in the Mosul area of Iraq when an improvised explosive device detonated during combat. More than 200 friends and family members said goodbye to him Wednesday at East Lawn Palms Mortuary and Cemetery in Midtown.

The 38-year-old Catalina High School graduate was the 24th person with Southern Arizona ties to be claimed by the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan; two more have died since. Borea had been in Iraq since November with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, from Fort Bliss, Texas.

Members of the Fort Huachuca honor guard lined the entrance to the chapel where the services were held. Outside, members of the local Patriot Guard Riders held up U.S. flags.

"I can never repay Russell and all the members of our military who have given their lives so that I can walk freely," family friend Jim Bridges said during the service, urging Borea's relatives to hold their heads high and remember him as a hero.

Staff Sgt. Enrique Torres, a member of Borea's unit at Fort Bliss, said the lesson Borea taught fellow soldiers was to appreciate time spent with family. He said members of his unit characterized Borea as one of the most knowledgeable sergeants they'd encountered.

"He will forever be in my heart and part of my greatest memories," Torres said before walking to the front of the chapel and saluting Borea's flag-draped coffin.

Fort Huachuca Gen. Carroll Pollett put Borea's identification tags around the neck of Borea's 10-year-old daughter, Marialena, and then saluted her. Army members presented Borea's widow, Maria, with her husband's Bronze Star and a Combat Infantryman Badge.

As the skies darkened and the wind picked up after midday, mourners gathered around Borea's burial site in the cemetery's veterans section. A Fort Huachuca bugler played taps, and the honor guard fired a salute — sounds of freedom, Army chaplain Steven M. Jones said. He told mourners to celebrate a life that was well-lived and spent in service to Christ and to a "grateful nation."

Before Borea's casket was lowered into the ground, his relatives paid their last respects. Several kissed the casket.

Borea was born in Connecticut to a family that moved to Tucson when he was young. His father was killed by a drunken driver three years ago, which has made coping with Borea's death particularly difficult, said Christopher Borea, who lives in Phoenix. Their mother, Gertrude, lives in Las Vegas.

After high school, Borea spent several years in civilian jobs, including a stint as a manager of a local pizza parlor. He met his future wife in Tucson and joined the Army shortly before the couple wed in 1995.

Borea and his wife, who also goes by her middle name, Nikki, had a home in El Paso near Fort Bliss.

Borea was one of six children — four boys and two girls, Christopher Borea said. Just 11 months apart in age, the brothers played basketball and football together as high schoolers. Christopher was the wild one, he said, and Russell was more conventional.

"I'm the one who was 15 minutes late. He was always 15 minutes early," Christopher Borea said.

Christopher Borea said after they celebrated Russell Borea's birthday in Las Vegas last year, his brother gave him the Army jacket, knowing he'd be in Iraq for a year.

"I think he knew he wasn't coming back," Christopher Borea said. "I'm bitter, but I shouldn't be. He wanted to serve his country, and he did what God told him to do."

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Anonymous Bev said...

God Bless Sgt. Borea's family. I hope they can take comfort in the fact that he is now with the Lord.

18 February, 2007 10:18  

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