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Panhandle mother grieves son killed while fighting in Ukraine

Man was part of Ukrainian Special Forces
Posted at 1:58 PM, Apr 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-13 18:07:54-04

MARIANNA, Fla. (WTXL) — A mother from Florida’s panhandle is grieving the loss of her son who was fighting in Ukraine against the Russian invasion.

ABC News reported Edward “Eli” Wilton died April 7 while fighting in defense of Ukraine in the area of Bakhmut. Wilton is from the Marianna area of Florida.

Wilton’s mother, Amy Broome, told ABC 27, “it’s hard to believe it’s not just a bad dream.” We reached her by phone Thursday morning. In a Facebook post, Broome explained Wilton, “voluntarily decide to help defend Ukraine. He was part of Ukrainian Special Forces then he went South with the Ukrainian International Legion.” Wilton was known as “Eli” to friends and family.

Russian launched an invasion of Ukraine in February of 2022.

Wilton's half brother, Parker Cummings, told ABC News, “my brother was very selfless. My brother was very honorable and traditional. He cared more about freedom for all than for his own safety. Edward was a true hero, and he will be missed until we see him again.”

On the phone, Broome told ABC 27, "his biological father's family is Ukrainian and Polish. I, of course, didn't want him to go. No mother wants their child to go. He was determined he was going to help defend the country from invasion. He felt like he was called to do it.”

Joshua Cropper told ABC News he fought with Wilton in Ukraine’s International Legion between April and early July 2022. “He was so young, but immensely brave. Fearless. We’d need three guys to do any task, he's always going to have his hand up. He was as mature as anybody I've ever known,” Cropper added.

On Facebook, Broome also said, “He has wanted to be a soldier since he was a boy. He was brave and lived by his convictions. He lived his life to the fullest.” On the phone with ABC 27, she added, "I don't care about anybody's political position. I just care that my son isn't coming home. I know he believed in it. He fought for what he believed in. He died doing what he thought was right."

Broome said her son’s body is being transported back to the U.S., but she did not want to disclose where he would be landing out of respect for privacy for the family.