PAW PAW, Mich. — Army Specialist Bradley Walsh was the type of person to become best friends with someone within an hour of meeting him or her, said his older sister.
She did not want to be identified in this story, she said. However, she wants everyone to know that Walsh was a special guy.
“Brad was a wonderful individual,” she said during an interview with FOX 17. “He was a particularly caring individual. Had great loyalty to his friends.”
Dozens of Walsh’s friends and family packed the First Baptist Church Thursday morning for his funeral.
His sister said the 21-year-old soldier passed away just before his birthday in early January while on active duty in Virginia where he was stationed.
She did not reveal a cause of death but said that the military is investigating at this time.
“Good number of our folks from the military are here,” noted Congressman Fred Upton. “[They] provided an honor guard, something that’s always done. Nice tribute to a fine young man.”
Rep. Upton said once he found out about the funeral Thursday morning he decided to rearrange his schedule so that he could attend and pay his respects.
“Tragic loss,” said Rep. Upton with tears in his eyes. “Family all over the state are here. Governor [Gretchen Whitmer] was correct in lowering the flags at half-staff today.”
All of the flags in the state and in Paw Paw were lowered.
His sister said that Walsh was from the area and they that shared the same biological mother. However, she passed away when he was young. Thus, he was raised by his adopted family.
“It was wonderful for the first time to really have those two halves of his life together to honor him,” she said. “As well as the military who was very warm, very committed to being here. Many of his fellow unit members were able to be here today.”
She said his unit was planning a memorial for Walsh later this week in Virginia. He leaves behind his wife, who was expecting their first child.
She hopes people remember him as a hero.
“Brad would tell people to love fiercely and deeply,” she said about Brad’s lasting message to others. “To not take time for granted and to be extremely kind to each other.”