TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL) – This week marks the tenth anniversary of an Erwin soldier’s death, killed in action in Afghanistan.
Saturday afternoon in Elizabethton, the Rolling Thunder and community members came together for a memorial ride and service to honor the life of Air Force Senior Airman Benjamin D. White.
He was among five rescue airmen who died when insurgents shot down their helicopter during a rescue mission on June 9, 2010.
The ride was 71 miles, round-trip from Elizabethton to Mountain City.
White’s mother says even a decade later, the community support means the world to her. She wants nothing more than her son’s memory to live on.
“There are more people here than there ever have been and that’s just wonderful. It tells me that they care. They care that someone sacrificed for them. And they care enough to spend part of their Saturday to come out and remember and honor him with me,” said Brenda Shelton, mother.
Before the ride the group of several dozen paused for a service celebrating White’s life and legacy. Family members say he lived by the motto “that others may live” and he was more than willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
Senior Airman White was 24 years old when he died.
Read more on White’s service and sacrifice in this ABC Tri-Cities “Community Heroes” feature: