AFGHANISTAN

1st Lt. Daren M. Hidalgo

1st Lt. Daren M Hidalgo, 24, was killed in action Saturday, Feb. 20, 2011, while serving his country in Afghanistan.

Daren attended Kettle Moraine Middle School and Kettle Moraine High School and was a member of the school band and wrestled there. He graduated from Pennsylvania’s Dallastown Area High School in 2005, where he was a championship wrestler, National Honor Society member and a trumpeter in the school marching band.

Daren was accepted to the prestigious U.S. Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, N.Y. He excelled at the academy, serving as G-4 Company Commander during his senior year. Daren graduated near the top of the Class of 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree. In the Army, he completed numerous courses to include the extremely challenging Ranger School.

Earning the coveted Ranger Tab was one of the many proud moments of his short career. Daren was assigned to 3rd Platoon, Ghostrider Company, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, Vilseck, Germany.

Deployed to the Maiwand District of Afghanistan in October 2010, Daren executed his duties and responsibilities to perfection. Throughout numerous combat engagements, he gained a reputation in the squadron that was second to none. His ability to assess any situation and fix any problem was awe-inspiring to those who knew him. Daren’s greatest talent was his ability to maintain a positive attitude and inspire each of his soldiers to be great. He was a man who stood up when others would not and a man who said "send me" when others wouldn’t go. He has earned posthumously the award of a Bronze Star and the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster.

Daren was known for his winning smile and engaging personality. He was a jokester and prankster, always looking to cheer up people around him. His strength of character and empathy endeared him to all who met him.

Daren will be sadly missed by his parents, Jorge and Andrea; siblings, Jared (Jenny) Hidalgo, Miles (Caroline) Hidalgo and Carmen (Mike) Spellman; nephews, Wade and Carson; and his niece, Lexie. His extended family and many friends will miss him also.

Daren’s life and legacy will never be forgotten. All of us fortunate enough to have known him will cherish his memory, love and friendship.

Visitation will be held from 11 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, at St. Anthony on the Lake Catholic Church, W280-N2101 Highway SS, Pewaukee. A remembrance presentation will begin at 3:45 p.m., with the funeral Mass at 4 p.m. Burial will be in West Point Cemetery in New York later this week.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Daren M. Hidalgo Memorial Fund. It will be used for future scholarships and support of wounded soldiers.

Donations can be made at any US Bank in the country. A local mailing address is US Bank, 2040 W. Silvernail Road, Pewaukee, WI 53072.

For further information, please call Randle-Dable Funeral, Cremation, & Preplanning Services at 547-4035. To leave the family an online tribute message, visit www.waukeshafunerals.com