Bucks County Soldier Honored a Year After his Death
Sergeant Kenneth B. Elwell, who was killed in Kandahar last year, became the 19th “Hometown Hero” honored at the Bucks County Courthouse.
“He was my baby,” said Janice Elwell, mother of U.S. Army Master Sergeant Kenneth B. Elwell, who was killed on July 17, 2011 in the Kandahar Providence of Afghanistan.
On Wednesday, Sergeant Elwell, of Holland, became the 19th “Hometown Hero” honored by the Bucks County Gold Star Families, working in partnership with the Bucks County Commissioners.
“They are all Bucks County natives, and fortunately it hasn’t had to continue that much, but Sergeant Elwell did pass away last July," said Chris Edwards, Bucks County Director of Public Information. “This has been a long time in coming, but we had the chance to get the whole family together and participate in the ceremony.”
Sergeant Elwell served in Bosnia, South Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan. He was also a husband, father and son and a standout soccer player for Council Rock High School. He led the team in goals in his senior season, finding the back of the net 20 times. He graduated in 1997.
Ryan Manion, who lost her only brother – Travis L. Manion, 1st Lt. USMC of Doylestown—spoke at the ceremony Wednesday at the Bucks County Courthouse, “I know that no words can ever take away the pain that your family is experiencing, but hopefully this beautiful banner leaves no doubt that this hometown hero gave his last full measure of devotion in Afghanistan nearly 13 months ago and will always be remembered.”
Sergeant Elwell is now buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Commemorative banners are displayed in the Bucks County Courthouse Memorial Courtyard as a remembrance of the heroes from Bucks County who have been killed in service.
“Bucks County has suffered horrific losses of our young people, and this young generation that I call the 9-11 Generation because I think that is what motivated a lot of these young people into service,” said Dan Fraley, Bucks County Military Affairs Director. “The beauty of this generation is that we can come together as a community, that we look each other in the eyes and hold each others’ hands, and try to understand and bring these names [on the banners] into our hearts, our minds and our families.”
The Hometown Heroes banners exhibit was started in 2007 and will become a permanent memorial.
“This is an honor,” said Janice Elwell. “He was a very ambitious boy, very rambunctious, and very athletic.”
Bucks County Hometown Heroes
- Kristofor Stonesifer, Airborne Army Ranger, Doylestown
- Patrick R. Nixon, Cpl. USMC, Doylestown
- William J. Maher III, U.S. Army Spc., Yardley
- Brian R. Faunce, U.S. Army Captain, Bensalem
- Tamarra J. Ramos, U.S. Army Spc., Quakertown
- Maurice J. Johnson, U.S. Army Spc., Levittown
- Edward Brabazon, U.S. Army Spc., Levittown
- Barton R. Humlhanz, Cpl. USMC, Levittown
- Robert T. Minninger, Lance Cpl. USMC, Sellersville
- Kurt E. Krout, U.S. Army Spc., Spinnerstown
- Nathaniel E. DeTample, U.S. Army Pfc., Morisville
- Jae S. Moon, U.S. Army Spc., Spinnerstown
- Travis L. Manion, 1st Lt. USMC, Doylestown
- Colby J. Umbrell, 1st Lt. U.S. Army Ranger, Doylestown
- Allen James Dunckley, U.S. Army Sgt., Yardley
- Robert H. Dembowski Jr., U.S. Army 82nd Airborne, Ivyland
- Shawn M. Suzch, U.S. Army Sgt. First Class, Hilltown
- Mark C. Baum, U.S. Army SSG., Quakertown
- Kenneth B. Elwell, U.S. Army Master Sgt., Holland