BUCKS COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) — Before 33-year-old Kenneth Elwell became a Sergeant 1st Class, Elwell was a son, a brother and a husband.

“I had 10 years with my best friend,” said his wife, Kristen Elwell, who spoke to Eyewitness News by phone from Alaska. “People search their whole lives for what Kenny and I had, and they will never find it. I’m so lucky, that I had the time that I had with him.”

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Kristen and their two young children, Elise and Nicholas, are preparing to make a trip to Holland, Pennsylvania, in Bucks County, where Elwell’s family members live. Elwell’s three older brothers, sister, and mother say they’re still coming to grips with the phone call they received Sunday morning from Kristen.

“She said, ‘Kenny is dead,’” said Sgt. Elwell’s mother, Janice. “I screamed, ‘No, no, that’s my baby!’”

Watch the video…

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Janice now joins the more than 1,500 military mothers, whose children have died in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. According to the Department of Defense, Elwell was an infantry man who had been previously deployed to South Korea, Iraq and Bosnia. But on July 17th, his patrol was attacked, and an improvised explosive device ended the 14-year veteran’s life.

“If someone told me I had to bury my younger brother, I’d tell them they’re crazy,” said Elwell’s older brother Michael.

Reported by Jericka Duncan, CBS3

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