ROLAND (KFSM) -- Exactly one week after he died, Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler was honored in his hometown near a monument where his name is engraved in stone.
Before nearly 200 balloons were released, a local band sang a song titled “Thank You.”
"He was a soldier, but I didn't realize he had all of these accomplishments, all these achievements – it just blows my mind. He’s an American hero,” his brother, Zack, said.
Wheeler died during a raid to free about 70 prisoners who were about to be executed.
“I wish everybody could have known him,”Tra Moreland said.
Moreland graduated with Wheeler from Muldrow High School in 1994.
“If you would have asked me 20 years ago, ‘Would he be the man -- the kind of man to do this, to give his life for everyone else?’ I'd say, 'Most definitely,'” she said.
“That’s just how Josh was,” Zack said. “He just wanted to take care of people.”
Wheeler is survived by his grandparents, five siblings, his wife and four sons.
The family said Wheeler will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. A date for the funeral has not yet been set.
“I just hope his sons know how big of a hero he was,” Zack said.