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Fallen hero honored with tree dedication
Warrior's Walk
Bonnie Harper (center), mother of Staff Sgt. William Beardsley, is escorted to the ceremony Thursday on Fort Stewart that honored her her son. - photo by Photo by Andrea Washington

Another Eastern Red Bud tree was added to Warrior’s Walk Thursday morning when the 3rd Infantry Division honored Staff Sgt. William J. Beardsley.

A member of the division’s 260th Quartermaster Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, the 25-year-old died from wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle Feb. 26 in Diwaniyah, Iraq.

With a number of family and friends in attendance, Fort Stewart garrison commander Col. Todd Buchs said he was “humbled to speak of a great person, one fine soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice.”
“William was all that a good soldier should be; loyal, honorable, selfless and dedicated,” Buchs said.
A native of Coon Rapids, Minn., Beardsley enlisted at age 18 and spent three years in South Korea and at Fort Campbell in Kentucky.
He left the Army briefly to work as a landscape contractor with his father, but returned to service in 2005 to serve as a petroleum supply specialist.
According to brigade member and friend, 1st Lt. Shari Bowen, Beardsley always saw the positive in others and maintained an optimistic outlook.

“He was full of energy and so full of love ... he was such a fun loving person,” she said. “He was just happy all the time and you never saw him in a bad mood. That’s what I’ll miss most.”
While recognized as a great soldier and friend, it was noted Beardsley’s biggest concern was the legacy he would leave with his two young children, Chase and Alexa.
“William once confessed that his greatest fear was being forgotten by his children,” Buchs said. “By planting a tree for him here today, we ensure that no one will forget him.”
American flags now surround 321 trees along Warrior’s Walk. Buchs said the effort of these soldiers would remain etched in history for years to come.
“The flags here remind us of the nation we serve and the generations of Americans who are indebted to Williams and his soldier brothers and sisters whose names adorn these markers,” the garrison commander said. 

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