It's not the kind of homecoming anyone in this community ever prayed for.
"We’ve had several that have been on tour, but they've all made it back home,” said Wilson family friend, Kalynn Grimes.
But it's the unexpected reality that's drawn a community closer as their first fallen hero comes back home.
“The community has pulled together and it's shown me why we raise our kids here,” Grimes said.
Centerville closed up early Friday afternoon to paint the town with patriotism.
"Driving in and seeing all of the yellow ribbons and flags shows us that we are here to support Wade and his legacy,” Grimes said.
While students, friends, veterans and distant neighbors covered Highway 75 in red, white and blue -- a wave of Patriot Guard Riders came rolling through I45-- drifting closer to home with the body of Sergeant Wade Wilson.
"It was just amazing to see, they shut the highway down and there were flags everywhere,” said David Elizondo, Patriot Rider from Brazos County. "Fire Departments, law enforcement from all of these small communities just stopped what they were doing to pay their respects."
"For Wade to not come home, it touches our hearts that much deeper,” said Grimes.
And although his return brings tears -- it's the unforgettable legacy his friends, family and community will never forget.
“It's a place in our hearts that can never be replaced. His legacy has changed us forever," Grimes said.
Sergeant Wilson's funeral is Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Centerville High School Auditorium. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the "Sgt. Wade Daniel Wilson Scholarship Fund" set up at Citizens State Bank in Buffalo and Centerville or any Wells Fargo location.