Saturday, May 05, 2007

Brian Botello remembered

Brian Botello was meant to be a soldier.

It seemed only natural for him to follow in the footsteps of his grandfathers, who retired from the military, and many other family members who have made the commitment to serve their country. The 19-year-old Alta man had nearly completed two years of service and had just reenlisted for an additional five years.

According to the Department of Defense, Private First Class Brian Botello, 19, was one of three soldiers killed when a bomb exploded near their unit in Baghdad on Sunday. The three soldiers were with the 3rd Squadron, 61st Calvary Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, out of Fort Carson, Colo. The other soldiers were reported to be Staff Sgt. Jay E. Martin, 29, Baltimore, Md. and Sgt. Alexander J. Funcheon, 21, Bel Aire, Kan.

Brian was the kind of son any mother would want.

"He was always a joy to me," said his mom, Karyn Brophy, Alta. "When he was young, he was so precious and when he was growing up, he wanted to be doing something all the time. He had a great talent for speaking and playing sports and was musical. He was outgoing and was always kind to people."

Above all, he loved his family. It came as no surprise when he graduated from Alta High School in 2005 that he decided to join the army.

"He thought if he was in the military they would always have something for him to do," his mother said.

He completed his basic training and was stationed at Fort Carson.

"He ranked high, had great navigation skills and was a sharp-shooter," she added.

Brian received word last fall that he would be deployed to Iraq; Karyn and Brian's sister Jamie, 22, went to Colorado to spend time with him before he shipped out. "We had a blast!" she said.

He e-mailed and telephoned often and constantly told Karyn how happy he was.

"He felt good about what he was doing and he felt like they were making a difference there," she added.

"Brian always took to people that no one else cared about and one of the hardest things for him was seeing the children there and knowing they have had to live with war all their lives."

Brian had a good rapport with everyone in the platoon. Carrying his musical talents across the ocean, he and some of his buddies formed a rock band in Iraq, to help take their minds off the war. The musicians were hopeful that when they returned to Colorado that they would record some music; songs have been written during their stay in Iraq.

Brian was able to return home in January for a visit. It was a short visit, Karyn said, but he made a point of filling up the entire time span seeing friends and family. As she looks back on his last visit to home, Karyn commented, "I truly believe that was orchestrated by God." It was, perhaps, his opportunity to let everyone know how much he cared about them all - and to say good bye.

Karyn noticed a great difference in her son after joining the military.

"He held his head higher. It was an honor for him to be part of the military. He was proud and I am very proud of him."

Classmate Jill Schroeder said she will always remember what a great friend Brian was.

"He always made me laugh. He was so funny and was always making jokes." And there was a serious side that also made him special.

"I don't think he had a mean bone in his body. He was so caring. Everyone liked him."

Jill received his email address from his mom and talked to him often, the last time was a couple weeks ago.

"I'm so proud of him for going there," she said of her friend, "and all the courage that took. It doesn't surprise me that he'd go there; he'd do anything for anyone including his country."

The high school where he was such an important part, is also feeling the pain of losing one of their fellow Cyclones. Though Brian has been out of school for a couple years, there are still many students who remember him. The school counselor has been available to visit with students if they want to talk about it. A moment of silence was held for him on Monday.

Superintendent Fred Maharry had this to say about Alta's hero.

"I have known Brian for quite awhile. He was a great young man."

The superintendent added that Brian participated in football, wrestling and track and was a an alternate for an AHS relay team that competed at state.

"He was musical and he was also very bright. He was a good friend, confident and laid back. He was a neat young man. I am proud of him."

He added that the district will assist the family in any way it can.

Karyn is "overwhelmed" with everyone who has been so caring since learning the news of Brian's death.

Flags in Alta are at half-mast for Brian and the Main Street is lined with flags. She only hopes Brian knows how many people care about him.

The pain is being felt by Brian's church family as well. Senior Pastor Rev. Doug Corlew of Summit Church said Brian "will be missed by all who knew him."

"We are very proud of Brian for his brave service to our country and his sincere desire to make his life count in the protection of our freedoms. He was deeply loved by our church family. Our hearts go out to Brian's family as they mourn this great loss and trust in God's promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ."

Karyn shared that Brian just recently turned his life around spiritually and she couldn't be more pleased.

"God knew it was the right time to take Brian home. He had it in his heart. That's my only comfort."

From the Spencer Daily Reporter

Related Link:
Brian A. Botello dies of injuries from I.E.D.