Hillsboro family honors son on Veterans Day

Hillsboro family honors son on Veterans Day


by Pat Dooris, KGW Staff


Posted on November 11, 2011 at 5:27 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 12 at 7:11 PM

HILLSBORO, Ore. -- A Hillsboro veteran and his wife were proud and devastated at the same time on Veterans Day.

Their only son Danial, a Green Beret, died two months earlier, during a fire fight in Afghanistan.

A lonely gold star hangs on the front window of the family’s home. His father smiles when he remembers his son. “He was a good man,” Jim Adams said.

Danial was 35 years old and a career military man. It runs in the family. “This is a military family,” Adams said. “We support our military. We have to."

The Adams’ military service stretches all the way back to the civil war.

The family did not push their son to enlist after he graduated from Sunset High School in Beaverton. But they're proud he did.

“Oh God! Can’t even begin to tell you how proud," said Penny Adams, Danial’s mother. He was an amazing son."

She spelled his name differently at birth to help him stand out. But she called him Danny.

Over the years Danny Adams earned the rank of Master Sergeant and became a special forces medic. He got married and began raising three children. The end came suddenly. September 13, 2011 his unit was ambushed as they searched for an enemy soldier in Afghanistan. Danny died in the fire fight.

His wife, Melany, called with the awful news.

“It was heart wrenching, definitely, Penny said. "I can’t even explain it. I totally lost it."

The family knew every deployment was dangerous. They just didn’t expect it to end like this.

“I didn’t want to believe it,” Penny said. “But I do know it’s true. And we just go day by day."

There have been moments of brightness. An organization called "Once in a Lifetime" learned that Adams and his boys were big time football fans. The group's national spokesman is Troy Polamalu. He invited the family and members of Danny’s unit to a Steelers game last weekend. Melany and her boys flew in from Germany for the game. She held a picture of Danny as she stood on the field. His parents watched from Hillsboro.

“That was awesome,” Penny said. “Just amazing."

Penny's pleased so many people loved her son. She did too. She holds bits of his ashes inside a specially made necklace.

“Danny was very proud of his country," she said. "He loved the thought of having his freedom and that's why it was so important to him to do what he did."

The family’s military legacy will continue. Danny's oldest son, John, will follow his father's footsteps and join the army in January.

Inside the Adams home on Veterans Day, there was sadness and pride, and hope for the future.