MINERAL WELLS – Friends, family and the community gathered Monday to meet the late U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Wilhelm “Billy” E. Friese, when a ceremony was held to dedicate a bridge in Big Tygart United Methodist Church that was renamed after him.
Friese grew up in Rockport and graduated from Parkersburg South High School in 2007. A year later, in 2008, Friese joined the West Virginia National Guard.
He was assigned to the West Virginia Army National Guard’s 111th Brigade of Engineers. He was previously deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 with the 1092nd Engineer Battalion.
During his time at WyoTech in June 2013, Friese also obtained an extra-occupational degree in specialized diesel technology and management.
Friese was killed in a non-combat incident on July 18, 2019 at Camp Buehring, Kuwait during Operation Inherent Resolve with the West Virginia Army National Guard.
“He was ready to do the next big thing, we lived on a golf course and one of his favorite things to do was go into a little pond and fetch all the golf balls. Clean them all up, put them in buckets to sell to all golfers so he was always ready for the next day. “ said Kayla Lehan, Friese’s sister. “He would be amazed at the amount of love and support.”
Simultaneous House Resolution 25 passed the West Virginia House of Delegates and Senate in March calling on the Division of Highways to designate the bridge known locally as the City Beer Overpass that spans Interstate 77 over the W. Va. 21 in Wood County in memory of Friese leads.
The resolution was introduced and voted on by Delegate Steve Westfall, R-Jackson.
“We do a lot of things in the house, some good, some bad. But that was one of the things I really enjoy helping families do. “ said Westfall.
Among the awards and medals, Friese received the Meritorious Service Medal, Achievement Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Good Conduct Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Ribbon with Bronze Star Device, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with Mobileization Device, Army Service Ribbon, Army Overseas Ribbon, Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon, West Virginia National Guard Emergency Services Ribbon with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, West Virginia National Guard State Service Ribbon with Bronze oak leaf cluster and West Virginia National Guard Service Ribbon.
Latest news and more in your inbox