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Funeral Services Held for Buffalo Reservist

By Associated Press

Buffalo, NY – Several hundred mourners filled a church for the funeral Friday of a 43-year-old Army reservist from Buffalo who died in Iraq after his vehicle hit a homemade bomb.

A Bronze Star and Purple Heart were presented to the family of Pfc. Charles E. Bush Jr., killed Dec. 19 in Balad. Bush was assigned to the 402nd Civil Affairs Battalion, 354th Civil Affairs Brigade, 352nd Civil Affairs Command, U.S. Army Reserve, based in Riverdale Park, Md.

"God has brought you to this place at this time to find that hope we need so desperately," said the Rev. Warner Perry, pastor of the Gethsemane Full Gospel Church. "He sent Jesus so you would have peace in the midst of your storm."

Bush, a cook, was in a convoy when his vehicle struck the bomb. He was working as a door gunner, providing rear security for the convoy. Two other western New York soldiers from Bush's unit were wounded.

He had been expected home on leave for the Christmas holiday, but died voluntarily performing dangerous guard duty.

His father, Charles E. Bush Sr. of Buffalo, and 11-year-old daughter Jamelah Bush were also presented flags following the service.

"He put his life on the line when he could have been safe working as a cook," his father had told The Buffalo News. "He's my firstborn, my oldest, and I'm proud of him."