A hometown hero comes home

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:07

Brian Kilduff gets a big welcome from Franklin residents Franklin — A proud dad, relieved mom and a grateful community all turned out on Sunday, Nov. 6, to welcome PFC Brian C. Kilduff home from Afghanistan, where he had been deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom since Oct. 2010. Injured last July by shrapnel from a rocket propelled grenade during an attack on his unit, Kilduff spent a month recovering in an Army hospital before returning to his unit at the combat outpost. Kilduff received a Purple Heart for “wounds received in action.” When Kilduff arrived at the Franklin Pond recreation area, where he thought he was meeting up with friends to go to a show, he was surprised by flags, family and friends, veterans, townspeople, motorcycles, fire engines — a huge entourage ready to escort their returning hero from Franklin down Route 23 to Main Street in Ogdensberg to a welcome home party at the firehouse. Police departments from Franklin and Ogdensburg, fire departments from Franklin, Hardyston, Mcafee and Ogdensburg, and motorcyclists from the Warrior Watch Riders and the Franklin VFW all coordinated to create a parade that stretched for many blocks. Kilduff’s mother, Lauren Bastian, of Milford, Pa., was also riding on her motorcycle. She is a member of the Warrior Watch Riders, an organization that supports all armed forces by providing escorts and welcomes to servicemen and women. And this day the show of support was for her own son. Later Franklin Mayor Paul Crowley presented a plaque to Kilduff to show appreciation for his service to his country and community. A veteran himself, Crowley said, “When you return from war, people ask if you are you a hero? And we say; No, we are just doing our job.” U.S. Congressman Scott Garrett and State Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose also commended Kilduff for his service. McHose said that she was also a member of the Walkill Valley Women’s Club, which had “adopted” Kilduff and sent letters and packages to show support for him while he was overseas. When Kilduff himself took the microphone he thanked everyone for their support and said, “You don’t know how important it is when people recognize and appreciate what we do. Something like this means so much not only to me, but to all the troops.” Finally, James Kilduff, Brian’s father, a resident of Franklin as well as its borough administrator, said a few words about his son. “I’m going to brag about my son because he is too modest about his accomplishments,” said Kilduff. “I can tell you that he received an early promotion to Specialist after only six months. He was his company’s Soldier of the Month last May. And I can tell you that his company commander is recommending Brian for an Army Commendation. Brian participated in over 400 combat patrols, with 60 direct contacts with the enemy. While on patrol Brian found an explosive device, which was embedded in a wall, and probably saved his squad." You know, when you are growing up you look at your parents and think they are heroes. But now I look at my son as my hero.” Jim Kilduff, speaking about his son Brian