Services were held yesterday at Maria Lanakila Church on Maui for Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Bolor, the first Maui-born soldier to die in the Iraq war. Bolor died Nov. 15 after two Black Hawk helicopters collided in the city of Mosul.

Maui soldier
called selfless

Relatives and peers remember
Kelly Bolor's dedication to
his family and country

WAILUKU >> The first Maui-born soldier killed in the Iraq war was eulogized yesterday as a person who placed the needs of his family and his country before himself.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Bolor, 37, who died in a double-helicopter crash that killed 17 people in northern Iraq on Nov. 15, was buried yesterday with military honors at Maui Memorial Park Cemetery in Wailuku.

"His peers loved him. Those who served with him respected him," said Army Maj. Gen. Robert Ostenberg, the commanding general of the 63rd Regional Readiness Command out of Los Alamitos, Calif.

Hawaii state flags flew at half staff statewide yesterday in honor of Bolor.

Ostenberg said Bolor was a great leader who was able to take one of the worst platoons and turn it in four months into a unit that performed in an "outstanding manner."

As an Army reservist called into active duty twice, Bolor also served in Desert Storm in 1991 and in the current war in Iraq since February.

Bolor, who worked ferrying supplies to the front lines, died in the city of Mosul after the collision of two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.

Under occasional light showers, a 25th Infantry Army unit out of Schofield Barracks fired a 21-gun salute, followed by a bugler playing taps.

Ostenberg presented an American flag to Bolor's wife, also named Kelly.

Next to her side was her 3-year-old son Kyle, held by Bolor's twin brother, Keith "Maxie" Bolor.

Ostenberg also presented a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for meritorious service.

Doves were released from wicker baskets and flew in a circular pattern above the mourners as a helicopter flying dropped hundreds of orchids.

Family members and friends sang "I'll Remember You" to the strums of a guitar.

Earlier in the day, family members and friends spoke about Bolor.

KHNL sports director Russell Yamanoha, who grew up in the same state public housing project in Lahaina as the Bolor family, said Kelly Bolor was conservative in his manners compared to some of his other brothers.

"I'm just surprised it happened to him," said Yamanoha, who like Bolor graduated from Lahainaluna High School.

Bolor, born in Wailuku and raised in Lahaina, was the third-oldest child in a Filipino family of five boys and a girl raised by his mother, Annie, whose husband Martin Bolor died suddenly in 1968.

Relatives described Kelly Bolor as a well-mannered, selfless individual who worked at McDonald's Restaurant while attending Lahainaluna and picked pineapples during the summer to help support his family.

"Kelly put everyone's needs before him," recalled his younger brother Rocky Bolor, a master sergeant in the Army.

Bolor was working in the public works department in Los Angeles County when he was called into active duty in January from the Army Reserve's 137th Quartermaster Company based in El Monte, Calif.

He and his wife had just bought a house in Whittier, Calif.

In a eulogy at Maria Lanakila Church, Rocky Bolor said his brother lived his life as a soldier with loyalty, duty and respect and fought in Iraq so others could enjoy the same rights as Americans.

Rocky Bolor said he learned a lot from his older brother about working hard and about helping each other as a family unit.

He said that despite difficulties, Kelly Bolor carried a smile with him that said, "Don't worry, be happy."

"We won't forget your smile, Kelly," Rocky said.

Kelly Bolor, who is buried near a plot with his parents, is survived by his wife Kelly and son Kyle; sister Nitta Kinimaka; and four brothers, Keith "Maxie," Conrad, Rocky and Alvin Bolor.


E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2003 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --