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Jacksonville-area man dies after volunteering to fight Ukrainian forces

jacksonville, florida – A local man made the ultimate sacrifice for Ukraine.

Twenty-two-year-old Edward Wilton III died about a month ago after volunteering to fight the Ukrainian army. He goes to school in the Jacksonville area and on Thursdays his loved ones rest him in Mandarin.

Wilton grew up in Florida, including Orange Park, but his grandmother and loved ones are from Ukraine.

“My son Edward was an adventurer. He was a soldier, a good man. An honest man,” said his father, Edward Wilton II.

Edward Wilton III (Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.)

Edward Wilton II has memories of his son.

“He was military-minded all his life,” he said.

Just over a year ago, when he was only 21, he signed up to follow his passion and join the Ukrainian army in fighting the Russian invaders.

“He wanted to protect his legacy…his ancestors and his, and he said, ‘These are my ancestors. It’s the land of my ancestors.'” said Edward Wilton II. “Some of the family were angry with him, desperate to persuade him. But I knew it was his passion and his dream.” I thought, and I think he was happy.”

His grandmother grew up in Ukraine and carries on the tradition.

Related: AFP journalist killed in Ukraine

Edward Wilton III gave few specific details for everyone’s safety.

His father said he spoke to him shortly before he was killed.

“And he made a rare video call,” said Edward Wilton II. “And we talked for about an hour. And although it was an unusual conversation, we really lived our lives. We talked, we had that wonderful father-son conversation that every parent dreams of, and finally there was some kind of murmur in the background and someone said, ‘Come on,’ and he said, ‘I have to go. ‘ he said.

The next call was from the embassy. Officials said he died in a barrage of artillery fire.

“He loved Jaguars. I spoke with some of his mates at the scene and, you know, they gave me some details about how he died.” “It was a night tactic,” said Wilton. And the squad leader said, “What about you, you’re a Jaggs fan.” And his comeback was, “The Jacksonville Jaguars will win the Super Bowl. not.”

The Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces later sent him a certificate of commendation for his “courage, bravery and patriotism.”

“Absolutely a hero of Ukraine,” said Edward Wilton II. “And he is mentioned in conversations with Ukrainians that he is a hero of Ukraine.”

A month later, his body is returned to his home, where his family and friends prepare to say goodbye to the young man who gave his all for the cause he believed in.

Edward’s funeral will be held on Thursday at St. Joseph’s Historic Catholic Church in Mandarin. Starts at 10am. My father said everyone is welcome.

Although there is no ban on travel to Ukraine by Americans, the State Department continues to advise US citizens not to travel to Ukraine because of the conflict.

Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4JAX – All rights reserved.

https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/2023/05/10/a-hero-to-ukraine-jacksonville-area-man-dies-after-volunteering-to-fight-with-ukrainian-military/ Jacksonville-area man dies after volunteering to fight Ukrainian forces

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