Sgt. Michael Strachota (Photo courtesy Pine Bluff Commercial)
PINE BLUFF, Ark. (KTHV) - It is one of the most popular events during the Jefferson County fair and this year, the son of a hero is leading the way.
"He was deployed to Afghanistan when everything happened. He had been gone almost a year. He was getting ready to come back for my son's third birthday but didn't quite make it," says Lauren Strachota.
Her husband, Sgt. Michael Strachota who died while in Afghanistan on June 24th, left behind his three year old son, Will.
"I got to talk to him the Friday before he passed away and that's all he was talking about. Ready to see Will," says Strachota's brother, Matthew Tole.
"We just take each day, day by day, hour by hour sometimes. I have to be strong for my son. He's a good distraction," says Lauren.
Wednesday, with an Army of Patriot Guard riders at his back, Will Strachota made his father proud as the Grand Marshal of the Jefferson County Fair Parade.
"We've been practicing all day. We've been teaching him, "Let the parade begin!" and to wave at people as they go by," says Lauren.
"He was a family guy. He loved Lauren and Will with everything," says Tole.
A patriotic welcome for a little boy carrying on the legacy of a hero.