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The Best of Dayton Youth Radio: A Puzzle Missing A Piece

Hannah Williams
Basim Blunt
Hannah Williams

In this Best Of edition of Dayton Youth Radio, we feature a story that originally aired in 2016. It’s from Hannah Williams, who attended Tecumseh High School in Medway, Ohio. Hannah tells us about her brother Wesley, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2012.

Today, I'm going to talk about my brother and the legacy he left behind.

He is my hero and always has been from the time I was born. Wesley R. Williams was born March 17, 1987 on St. Patrick's Day at Fort Hood Darnell Army Hospital. He is son of Lynda and Lars Williams and has three siblings in order of oldest youngest. They are Amber Austin and me, Hannah Williams.

Wesley had a love of military from a young age. Of course I wasn't alive when he was little. Because he's a lot older than me. However, I do know that since the time he had been little, he wanted to be a Green Beret in the Army. In high school. He was in junior ROTC and was on drill. While in ROTC, he met his high school sweetheart and later on, wife Christa.

In 2005, he graduated and signed up to join the army. He sadly scored a few points too low on the test and could not be a Green Beret, but he still pursued a career in military. In 2008, he married Christa, then in 2011, his daughter Faith was born. In 2012, they found out they were having their second daughter, but unfortunately, on December 10 of the same year, fate took Wesley from us at age 25.

He was killed in action in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. For as young as he was when he died, he still had accomplished everything he wanted to in life. He set up a college fund for me and made sure that Crista and his kids were set up for life. Over time I will never forget him because he was my brother, the same brother who gave me my beloved puppy when I was seven and all the gifts he brought for me, mostly from Claire's. He bought me earrings and journals and figurines and just a lot of stuff. I will never let go of any of it. Because that's the last things he gave me.

The day we were informed of his death was the most devastating day of my life. I remember what an amazing day I was having. Everything was perfect, and nothing was going wrong. It was December, so the entire house was decorated in light of the holiday season. There were Christmas lights and decorations everywhere. The tree was up, and everything just felt so right. I was 11 years old at the tim,e and I was in my room on December 10 when I heard a knock at the front door.

I had this thing where I would run down the front door and check and see who it was. Except I was really loud so you could hear me coming from outside. Sometimes I would fall down the stairs so you could just hear me tumble.

When I looked out the front door, I saw a man and a woman in military uniform. My heart froze. Everything seemed to freeze. And I just stood there for a second. If you're part of a military family, and you see Army personnel standing at your door, everything just seems to stop. Your life freezes and, you know nothing's going be the same.

When my mom asked me who was at the front door, I said I didn't know, even though I did, and I ran back upstairs. My mom opened the door, and the earth quaking news was delivered. My brother was gone.

Wesley may not be on her on earth, but I, as well as everyone else that he has touched on his time here, will never forget him. I will always remember his smile, how much he cared for his family, and I will cherish every memory he gifted me with when he came home for the holidays.

This story originally aired in 2016. Hannah Williams is a graduate Tecumseh High School. Special Thanks to Michelle Peters, journalism teacher at Tecumseh High School. Learn more at the school's website:  http://www.tecumseh.k12.oh.us/ Support for Dayton Youth Radio comes from the Virginia W. Kettering Foundation, Ohio Arts Council and the Vectren Foundation.

This story was created at the Eichelberger Center for Community Voices at WYSO.

Basim has worked in the media for over twenty years, as an A&R rep with Capitol Records and as a morning drive show producer. He is a filmmaker, media arts adjunct, and also a digital editing teacher in the Dayton Metro area. In 2012 he joined WYSO as a Community Voices Producer, and his work has earned him a “New Voices” Scholar award by (AIR) Association of Independents in Radio. Basim has produced the award-winning documentary Boogie Nights: A History of Funk Music in Dayton. He also served as Project Manager for ReInvention Stories, a multimedia docu-series produced by Oscar-winning filmmakers Steve Bognar and Julia Reichert. In 2020, Blunt received a PMJA (Public Media Journalists Association) award for his WYSO series Dayton Youth Radio, for which he is the founding producer and instructor. Basim spins an eclectic mix of funk, soul, and classic R&B every Thursday night from 8 p.m to 10 p.m., as host of the 91.3 FM music show Behind the Groove.