Public Memorial for Aurora Soldier Killed in Afghanistan Set for Today

You will have a chance tomorrow to say thank you to a local kid who died serving our country.

A memorial ceremony will be held tomorrow in Aurora to honor United States Army Specialist Miguel Villalon.

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. on Wednesday, January 29 at East Aurora High School, 500 Tomcat Lane.

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

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 the young soldier were held last week at his family’s hometown of Brownsville, Texas.

Through the mayor’s office, Miguel’s mother, Olivia Guzman Villalon 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. Mrs. Villalon also thanked the United States Army for promoting her son from Private First Class to Specialist.

In response to inquiries from the community, Mayor 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 Mayor Irvin, a veteran of the United States Army.

Specialist Villalon attended Waldo Middle School and East Aurora High School. He joined the United States Army in 2018 and, after completing basic combat training and advanced individual training in 2019, at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, he was assigned to Fort Bragg where he served as a combat engineer. 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.

He was one of two U.S. service members killed on Saturday, January 11 when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device while on duty in Afghanistan.

The ceremony is open to the public.