A memorial ceremony will be held next week in Aurora to honor U.S. Army Specialist Miguel Villalon, who was killed on Jan. 11 along with another service member when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device while on duty in Afghanistan.
A memorial ceremony will be held next week in Aurora to honor U.S. Army Specialist Miguel Villalon, who was killed on Jan. 11 along with another service member when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device while on duty in Afghanistan.

AURORA – A memorial ceremony will be held next week in Aurora to honor U.S. Army Specialist Miguel Villalon, who was killed on Jan. 11 along with another service member when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device while on duty in Afghanistan.

The ceremony, which is being hosted by the city of Aurora in collaboration with East Aurora School District 131, will be held at 2 p.m. Jan. 29 at East Aurora High School, 500 Tomcat Lane. Villalon, 21, was an East Aurora High School graduate.

“It is important to his mother and to us for the NJROTC cadets to be able to participate in full capacity in the ceremony,” Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin said during his bi-weekly media briefing on Tuesday. “This was the unit he was so proud of and where he learned the importance of service to the community and our country.”

The ceremony is open to the public. In a statement released earlier, East Aurora School District said, “We are grateful to Miguel for his courage and service to our nation.”

Funeral services for Villalon will be held this weekend at his family’s hometown of Brownsville, Texas. After the services, his mother, Olivia Guzman Villalon, will return home to participate in the Aurora memorial ceremony next week.

Through the mayor’s office, she sends her gratitude to the community for the outpouring of love and support. She asks for continued prayers for her and her family during this difficult time and also thanked the United States Army for promoting her son from Private First Class to Specialist.

In response to inquiries from the community, Irvin said donations, cards and letters for the Villalon family can be brought to the ceremony.

“We are planning a memorial ceremony befitting a hero, because that is exactly what Miguel is,” said Irvin, a veteran of the United States Army.

Villalon attended Waldo Middle School and East Aurora High School. His awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal with "C'' Device, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal and the Combat Action Badge.

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Kane County Chronicle