MILTON — Most 5-year-old boys look up to imaginary superheroes, such as Spider-Man or Superman.
But Darren Baysore, 5, of Milton, has an authentic hero, said the Rev. Jamie Dries: Darren’s father, Staff Sgt. Thomas A. Baysore Jr., who was killed in Afghanistan on Sept. 26 in a green-on-blue incident, in which an enemy combatant wearing an Afghan national army uniform opened fire on a group of soldiers in Paktya Province.
“Instead of having a fictional hero, he has a real-life superhero,” Dries said.
Friends and family of the man many called “Tommy” were at First Baptist Church in Milton on Saturday morning to celebrate Baysore’s life and legacy.
Baysore, who was 31, will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Those who knew him described Baysore as someone who loved life, and had a huge smile.
“He would do anything for anybody,” said Katie Kling, of New Columbia, who attended Milton Area High School with Baysore. “It didn’t surprise me when he entered the armed service.”
Baysore’s family recalled a young man who grew up embracing life and those around him.
Angela Sritzges, of Milton, one of Baysore’s three older sisters, said her brother, who was much younger than his siblings, would often tag along on dates. When he was 5, Baysore wanted to be a cowboy and he went with Sritzges on a date where the group went horseback riding.
“It was nearly impossible for any of us to go on dates without Tommy after that,” she said.
Baysore also “loved to talk” and loved his family, Sritzges said.
“He loved life and he loved you and your mom very much,” Sritzges said, reading from a note addressed to Darren.
Baysore also loved the Army, though “It hurt him to go away so long,” Baysore’s father, Thomas Sr., wrote in a eulogy read by a friend as he stood by.
Baysore was “a great soldier, a great Pennsylvanian,” said retired Maj. Jonathan Miller, who worked with Baysore as an Army recruiter.
Baysore’s widow, Jamie, had a few brief words for the crowd of about 100 gathered for the memorial service, saying she talked to her husband four hours before she was notified of his death.
“I know that he knew (something would happen),” she said. “He asked me to take care of our son and said that he loved him very much.”
In addition to family and friends, the Patriot Guard Riders stood outside of the church, honoring Baysore by holding American flags.
“This is the least we can do,” organizer Mike Vogt said. “We appreciate what (soldiers) do so much.”
Baysore was a highly decorated soldier who received numerous awards during his more than 10-year Army career and four deployments, Dries said. Now, the soldier will be granted two more final medals.
“He will receive a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for his ultimate sacrifice,” Dries said.
It’s something that is incomprehensible, Kling said.
“It’s a debt none of us can repay,” she said.
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