A military funeral Wednesday in the northwest Iowa town of Alta drew some 600 mourners. Nineteen-year-old Army Specialist First Class Brian Botello was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq late last month. Pastor Kevin Mahr of the Summit Church in Alta recalled Botello’s friendly, outgoing disposition.
Mahr says, "He loved life and took every opportunity to experience it to the fullest. He had a way of making people happy by the humorous way that he approached things and sometimes just by the goofy look on his face, which he had quite a reputation for."
Mahr remembered Botello’s love for his family and how he enjoyed spending time with his buddies. Mahr says Botello enjoyed "road-tripping" with his friends and hanging out with them at home, in addition to playing several instruments, including guitar. He hoped to form a band when he came home from Iraq. Another speaker at the service was Pastor Michael Crawford, the battalion chaplain for the Fort Dodge National Guard.
Crawford says: "What I so admire about young men and women as Specialist Botello is their willingness to lay aside their personal pleasures, their personal pursuits, their personal interests and ambitions to provide for others something crucial they would not otherwise have." Crawford says Botello, and other soldiers like him, are dedicated to making the world safe for democracy.
Crawford says, "Regardless of whether that is security or protection or stability for their society or humanitarian aid or just a taste of the freedoms we enjoy in our country, it’s the young Iowans, young men and women like Specialist Botello, that have stepped up and stood tall and made sure those things were delivered."
Botello joined the Army shortly after he graduated from Alta High School in 2005. Two other soldiers were killed in the attack that claimed Botello’s life. He will be buried Friday at Fayetteville National Cemetery in Fayetteville, Arkansas.