"On behalf of the United States Army, I regret to inform you…"

Those are the only words Brooke Comfort of Jacksonville remembers them saying. Those three uniformed officers who came to her home as her infant slept in the upstairs bedroom said those words. Everything faded into a dark blur after that. Her mind stopped. Her hearing stopped. Her heart broke.

Her husband, the love of her life, U.S. Army Ranger Cpt. Kyle Comfort had made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. Even before she went to the door, Comfort said she knew who was there and why.

Cpt Kyle Comfort Alabama News
Cpt. Kyle Comfort. Photo: U.S. Army.

Comfort was killed on May 8, 2010, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, during Operation Enduring Freedom. He was killed by an improvised explosive device (IED), and those close by were injured but called him a hero.

Now, Memorial Day is much more than a day off with family and friends for Brooke Comfort.

"Memorial Day definitely has a different meaning now—now that Kyle is gone," she told 1819 News. But it's a day of remembrance for not only him but everyone else who has paid the ultimate price for our freedom."

Brooke Comfort said her husband knew death was a possibility when he went to Afghanistan. She said his mission was to serve his country to the fullest extent.

Brooke Comfort escorted from the funeral of her late husband Alabama News
Brooke Comfort escorted from the funeral of her late husband. Photo: Brooke Comfort.

"You never think it'll be you, but yeah, he absolutely knew the price and I knew the price," she said. "But he died doing what he loved and I don't think Kyle could have been killed any other way."

The Comforts had just welcomed their baby girl, Kinleigh, into the world six months before Cpt. Comfort's death. Kinleigh is now 14 years old and reminds her mother of her father all the time.

"She's definitely a lot like him in more ways and she looks just like him," Brooke Comfort said. "Some of the things she does and says, or looks she'll give me – it's just crazy because it's like I'm looking at him."

Although their daughter only knows her dad through photos and stories, Brooke Comfort said she believes Kinleigh truly understands that her father was an American hero.

Brooke and Kyle Comfort celebrate the arrival of their daughter Kinleigh Alabama News
Brooke and Kyle Comfort celebrate the arrival of their daughter Kinleigh. Photo: Brooke Comfort.

Keeping his memory alive is very important to Brooke Comfort. That's why, this Memorial Day, she doesn't mind dealing with the painful part of her loss by talking about it.

"I try to talk about him a lot," Brooke Comfort explained. "He's always in our thoughts and our memories. Every year on his birthday and on May 8th, we all meet at his grave and do what we call beer and balloons. We all have a beer and pour one out for him and then write a message on some balloons and send them off into the sky. We've done that ever since he passed."

Comfort said she has received support from the military and several organizations. The Tunnel to Towers Foundation even replaced her air conditioner when her old one stopped working. Comfort said other groups have offered assistance to Kinleigh for school.

Those who knew Comfort said his last name was perfect for him because he offered a comforting presence. Even before he left for his last deployment, he was comforting others and seeing their loved ones off. He had continuously and valiantly deployed to take part in the War on Terror, so his confidence reassured others.

Those who trained served alongside Cpt. Comfort still reach out to Brooke to offer condolences and tell her about the impact he made on them. Brooke Comfort said those phone calls and messages make her very proud.

"He was just one of a kind," she said. "He was one of those people that everybody loved and he always brought a smile to your face and definitely made an impact on many peoples' lives."

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email erica.thomas@1819news.com.

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