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Annual Salute the Boot carries special meaning for one military family

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A walk through Havelock City Park for Julie Rutyna and her daughter, Kylie, saw all the boots and flags. It ended with a surprising special tribute to her brother.

Julie Rutyna keeps the memory of her brother, Army Specialist Paul Bostwick, alive every day. Thursday, she saw a special tribute of his service during Salute the Boot.

“He went into the military to take care of me and my mom back in that time,” Julie Rutyna said.

Rutyna said he was humble and a selfless man who wanted to serve his family and country. He enlisted in the Army at 18.

“For me, he gave his life for me and my mom at that time,” Rutyna said. “That’s how I look at it. He was just at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Bostwick was a part of the 101st Airborne Division known as the “Screaming Eagles,” stationed in Fort Campbell, Ky. He was on a six-month peace-keeping mission, finally returning home after receiving a promotion.

“He was just not one of those guys to brag and talk, he was just ‘I like it and I think I’m going to make a career out of it, Rutyna said. “‘I think I made a good choice to go in’.”

Now, 33 years since his death, it’s a moment Rutyna won’t forget.

“That’s how i look at it,” Rutyna said. “He was just at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Bostwick boarded a DC-8 charter flight back home, but never made it back. The plane crashed, killing all 248 military members and crew. Bostwick died two days before his birthday. Rutnya’s daughter, Kylie, put together a special tribute for the uncle she never had an opportunity to meet.

“If he was still alive today he would’ve been a big part of my life and would’ve been probably one of the higher ranks,” Kylie Rutyna said.

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