|From WQAD TV 6 wqad.com
Illinois News - Jim Mertens reports
Galesburg native dies in Baghdad blast
Nov 4, 2005 08:36 PM
GALESBURG - Illinois National Guard Staff Sergeant Kyle Wehrly died from a roadside bomb explosion Thursday just south of Baghdad. He was riding in a Humvee at the time of the blast. He was 28 years old.
The Galesburg native was was part of the 123rd Field Artillery Battalion, was based in Galesburg, but left for overseas last November from Macomb.
He leaves behind a wife and a six year old daughter.
The halls of Galesburg High School were a little quieter Friday, the first day of school after Wehrly's death was announced.
"He's remembered and he's remembered fondly," said Galesburg American Studies teacher Laurie Aten who taught Kyle when he was a junior at the high school.
"Until it hits that close to home, I think we just kinda keep going on and not necessarily pause and reflect, think about the people that are around you."
Teachers say they can still picture just where he sat in their classrooms.
In fact, the teachers thought it was their duty to remember the tall, rail-thin 1996 graduate who had an aura of leadership and a quick and ready smile.
"Every picture of he's in he's got a smile on his face and that's how I remember him, too," said English teacher Sheryl Hinman who taught Kyle Freshman Honors' English.
Kyle Wehrly was an academic achiever, a member of Galesburg's tennis team, and the guy who married Janet, his high school sweetheart.
"He was one of those kinds of people who would reach out to others, who never shirked their duty," said Sheryl.
"It was one of those things he knew it was going to make him a stronger person, a better person," said high school math teacher Rosemary Eisemann who taught Kyle in her sophomore honors' Alegbra 2.
"He wanted to serve his country."
Now his former teachers want to serve his memory. They say they owe it to Kyle for the rest of us to know we've lost someone very special.
"It forces you to accept that and realize that it is hitting pretty close to home here," said Aten.