Congressman Bill Young may be best remembered as a politician of the people, rolling up his sleeves to solve the struggles of those he represented. One Largo military mother says Young's compassion helped heal her heart.
Cheryl Sitton left work early to head to First Baptist of Indian Rocks, the same church where she said goodbye to her son just a little more than a year ago.
Thursday, she went to say goodbye to her other hero: Congressman Bill Young.
Her late son, a sniper and an Army Ranger, wrote Young during his third deployment. Matthew Sitton said the mission in Afghanistan was losing focus, putting his entire platoon in danger.
LINK: The letter that changed a congressman's mind on Afghanistan
"When you're in the military, your most important job is the person on your right and the person on your left. And that philosophy had been lost," Cheryl Sitton said Thursday.
Matthew predicted his own death in those letters, and was killed just weeks later. But his letter lived on. Congressman Young made sure of it.
"He walked in my dining room. He grabbed me by the hands. He had my hand just engulfed in his big hands, and he looked me in the eye and said, 'It's time to bring the boys home, isn't it?" Cheryl Sitton recalled.
Shortly after, the military advocate changed his stance on the war in Afghanistan. He was one of the most senior Republicans to call for an end to it.
LINK: Emails reveal soldier's desperation
Cheryl Sitton says his wisdom and compassion touched her family in their darkest hours. He was an ally, advocate, and friend who will never be forgotten.
"He was just a special man to our family, to our son. He was a fighter for our son," Cheryl Sitton said Thursday.
Congressman Young fought tirelessly to make sure Matthew's concerns didn't get buried in Washington. Young actually helped set up a meeting between the Sittons and the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army back in December. Cheryl Sitton says Matthew's concerns helped create sweeping changes in the Army that were put into effect this summer.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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