Thursday, August 20, 2009

Army Pfc. Brian M. Wolverton

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Brian M. Wolverton, 21, of Oak Park, Calif.

Pfc. Wolverton was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.; died Aug. 20, 2009 in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with indirect fire.

Agoura Hills Acorn -- Pfc. Brian Wolverton, a 21-year-old Oak Park resident, was killed in action in Afghanistan on Aug. 20. The 2006 Oak Park High School graduate died from wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit in Kumar province.

Wolverton attended Moorpark College and returned to Oak Park High in 2008 to help coach the hurdlers on the school’s track team. Wolverton ran track all four years in high school.

“He was a vocal, enthusiastic coach who motivated his runners to find personal success,” said Kevin Smith, the Oak Park track coach. “He developed a devoted following among his charges. They affectionately called him Wolvie or Coach Wolvie.”

Smith recalled the time Wolverton visited the team after completing boot camp. Wolverton wore his full uniform.

“Brian was enormously proud to serve his country,” Smith said. “He profoundly believed he had an obligation to make the world a better place.”

Lyle Greenberg, an assistant track coach, described Wolverton as a serious, mature young man who often stayed after practice picking up empty water bottles and other items left by fellow athletes.

“It is important to remember and reflect upon Brian’s contribution, his commitment and his sacrifice,” Greenberg said.

Greenberg recalled the quote Wolverton chose to go with his senior photo in the high school’s 2006 yearbook: “Courage is facing your fear; with no fear there is no courage,” Wolverton said.

“Once Brian decided that he wanted to do something, he usually worked very hard to achieve his goals or at least gave it his best efforts,” said his mother, Miriam Wolverton.

The Wolverton family still lives in Oak Park. Smith credited parents Chris and Miriam with being strong special education advocates and supporting the track teams and the fundraising effort to renovate the track several years ago.

Wolverton’s brother Michael, will be a senior at Oak Park High this fall.

“In our small community, with only one middle school and one high school, so many students, athletes, teachers, coaches and others impact each other, and it is only when we have a communitywide loss that we recognize how fragile we are and how dramatic our loss can be,” Greenberg said.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a statement expressing sadness over Wolverton’s death. Flags were flown at half-staff in Sacramento.

A funeral service will be held at Pierce Brothers, 5600 Lindero Canyon Road, Westlake Village, at 10 a.m., Sat., Aug. 29.

In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made in Wolverton’s name to the Wounded Warrior Project,

Army Pfc. Brian M. Wolverton was killed in action on 8/20/09.

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