RIFLE, Colo. (CBS4) – A Colorado community came together Sunday to remember a local hero who died while serving his country overseas.

On Dec. 2 Capt. William DuBois accidentally crashed in his F-16 while fighting ISIS in the Middle East.

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“Capt. DuBois is a symbol of Colorado,” said Gov. John Hickenlooper, who attended the funeral. “He’s what every little kid wants to grow up to be.”

Hundreds of people came to remember. Some knew him as Will, some knew him by his call sign — “Pyro,” and some didn’t know him at all but wanted to come and honor him.

“We have heroes all around us and sometimes we don’t recognize it,” Hickenlooper said.

His wit, sense of humor and friendship brought so many together.

Andy George became friends with DuBois while attending Rifle High School.

“This is where we wanted to be from Dec. 2 on,” George said. “He was a product of the community as well, the values of the valley.”

Capt. William H. Dubois (credit: Facebook)

Capt. William H. Dubois (credit: Facebook)

DuBois grew up in New Castle and went on to graduate from the University of Colorado. The whole time he knew he wanted to be a fighter pilot.

“He was a Top Gun,” George said. “He knew his path, he knew how to prepare, and he knew it was in his power to prepare, and he was just methodical.”

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“He wanted to serve this country and clearly the people he served with were better,” Hickenlooper said. “The one thing you heard from every single speaker was him being in the room made everyone a better person.”

“His capacity for love is probably the thing I’ll take away most,” George said. “He brings friends back together, he makes new friends everywhere he goes. He spreads it, he generated it, and he welcomed more of it,” George said.

William DuBois  (credit: Facebook)

William DuBois (credit: Facebook)

As his family mourns a remarkable life lost too young, his friends say DuBois is unforgettable.

“He always called me Diddy — from an old joke,” George said. “Diddy dies with him, and I’ll never be that person for another person again. But that’s okay because a friendship is supposed to be special.”

Additional Information

A perpetual scholarship fund has been created in DuBois’ name. Donations can be made in person at any Alpine Bank Branch by calling the bank or mailing a check made out to:

Alpine Bank New Castle
810 Castle Valley Blvd.
New Castle, CO
(970-384-4354) or by visiting: youcaring.com/PyrosWings


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