Each week, we honor a new soldier as our Hometown Hero. Whether they are currently serving or have served in the past, we just want to say thank you to them. This Memorial Day weekend, we are honoring those soldiers who have passed.

This week, we honor the people who have been nominated as our Hometown Hero but are no longer with us. Obviously there are many more that have made our country proud in their lifetime. However, these are the ones who have been nominated. We want to remember them all this weekend.

William Wilson III


Staff Sergeant William R. Wilson III died in Paktika province as a result of wounds from small arms fire. He was a member of the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment of the 172nd Infantry Brigade, based in Grafenwoehr, Germany. He was always training, always loved to train soldiers, and he was always there for his soldiers. He lived and breathed the Army. Billy was known as an incredibly caring and compassionate man who believed in everything he was doing.

Joseph Schmidt

(listener submitted photo)

Sgt. Joseph Schmidt passed away on March 30, 2013. He was a Gulf War vet who loved this country very much. He was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in January of 2012. He never complained, or blamed anyone for his cancer. He had a positive outlook, and his family took turns spending time with him during the week to care for him, and just have fun while his wife Lisa worked.

His sister wrote: “We made so many memories with Joe, and he taught us so much in a very short period of time. We were so lucky to have the time that we had with Joe. I found out just how much he was loved by so many people, and I am honored that he was my a brother. He was very thoughtful and kind, and never worried about himself. He was always making sure that everyone else was OK. I loved him, and miss him every day. He was such an amazing man who taught me so much, about what life and love was really all about."

Eric Fontaine

Eric was in the Air National Guard before he passed away due to a fatal car motorcycle accident. His friend described him as the most loving, caring, kind-hearted, country redneck around. He was only 21 years young. He died last spring on Transit Road in Depew.

Christopher Heinz

(listener submitted photo)

Army SPC Christopher Heinz was originally from Newfane. Tragically, Christopher drowned during an exercise in Ft. Hood, Texas last July while training for the Sapper leadership program.

Kailee Bridges

(listener submitted photo)

Kailee joined the Marines straight out of high school. After receiving the news that she would be having a little girl, she received devastating news during a checkup that the doctors discovered Kailee had both bone and lung cancer. She was able to deliver their baby girl, Lilly. However, after fighting a long hard battle, Kailee passed away last year.


If you would like to remember or honor someone who is currently serving our country or has served in the past, click the button below. We will choose a new Hometown Hero each Friday. If their name is chosen, we will not only feature them on WYRK.com, but we’ll be sure to thank them for their service on the air and dedicate the first song on Noon Tunes to them.

Once again, thank you to all of our soldiers who have so proudly served our country and are no longer with us. We are proud to remember you all as our Hometown Heroes of the week!