The town of Centerville in Leon County is preparing to welcome home a hero who lost his life in Afghanistan last Friday. The flag-draped coffin carrying 22-year-old Marine Sergeant Wade Wilson is being flown from Dover Air Force Base.
From the football field…
“He was just one of those kids with heart and he would be willing to do anything to get the job done," said Centerville High School Head Football Coach Kyle Hardee.
To the battlefield – Wade Wilson's insatiable drive to get the job done -- only grew stronger after leaving Tiger Stadium in 2007.
“When I think of Wade, the first thing I think about is character; I think about toughness,” said Hardee.
"He wanted a challenge and the Marine Corps gave that to him,” said Corey Boudiette.
Corey Boudiette met Wilson in first grade; he says the two have been best friends ever since.
"Through everything, he always had my back," Boudiette said.
Twenty-two-year-old Wilson died in Afghanistan Friday while protecting his brothers and his country during combat.
“We spoke on Wednesday and he said that it was getting really hot over there and that he had been blown up by three IED’s in a week, but he said, ‘It’s ok, I’m having fun, and I’m with the people I care about,’ “ said Boudiette.
"Centerville lost a hero; he's been a hero as long as I've known him," said Hardee.
"You know you watch the news and you see 11 soldiers killed, or four marines killed, those aren't numbers," said Boudiette. "That's somebody's son, somebody's daddy and this is as real as it gets."
Wilson's hometown, his family and his friends are left hanging on to the memories the fallen Marine leaves behind.
“I'm not sad because he died doing what he loved to do, because I know he wouldn't want me to feel that way, but I just want to see him again,” said Boudiette.
While a hero knows no age -- Sergeant Wade Wilson was a leader and his character and calling to protect have certainly left an infinite footprint in the heart of Leon County.
”Somebody once told me that a hero isn't made on a baseball field, on a basketball court, they're made in the desert and the jungle,” explained Boudiette.
Funeral services with Walters Funeral Home in Centerville are pending.