MARYLAND

Ronald Wildrick, killed in Afghanistan, returns home to Woodsboro

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It was a hero's homecoming in Woodsboro, Md., Wednesday for a soldier killed in Afghanistan.

Family, friends and the community paid respects today to Army Specialist Ronald H. Wildrick Jr.

Family, friends and people from the community held American flags in honor of Army Specialist Ronald H. Wildrick Jr.

Wildrick was killed December 11 by a roadside bomb. He was 30 years old.

"He'll be forever loved and forever missed," said Jennifer Ringer, a friend. "He was a best friend to everybody. Just an amazing man."

"He was just one of a kind," said friend Janice Smith. "You could know him for five minutes, you could know him for five years. It didn't matter. He was such a good influence. He was always there for everybody."

The small town of Woodsboro wasn't even Wildrick's hometown. He only lived there a short time before joining the Army.

Miles away from Woodsboro, people paid tribute by waving American flags as the hearse drove through Frederick County from Dover Air Force Base to the funeral home where his service will be held Thursday. When it arrived, it was greeted by Wildrick's family and dozens of strangers.

"This is just something we can do as citizens to respect the people that are willing to put their life on the line so we have the freedoms we have," said Frederick resident David Pickett. "A little bit of time out of your schedule is nothing compared to what they do. Everyone should be willing to do things like this."

Specialist Wildrick will then be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday with full military honors. He leaves behind two little girls.

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