JACKMAN — Afghanistan war veteran Sgt. Timothy Gilboe will be welcomed back as a hometown hero Thursday with a parade in his honor.

At a ceremony Friday in Fort Polk, La., the graduate of Forest Hills Consolidated School was awarded the Silver Star for his actions during an April firefight in Afghanistan. The military honor is among the highest awarded for combat.

Gilboe, 24, is one of four sons of Steve and Deanna Gilboe, who own Northern Classic Outfitters in Jackman.

The Gilboes attended the Silver Star ceremony at Fort Polk, a 100,000-acre Combat Training Center in Vernon Parish.

During the April 28 firefight in a village in the Wardak Province of Afghanistan, insurgents opened fire at Gilboe’s combat team, wounding two and setting fire to another soldier’s backpack, which was packed with ammunition.

Gilboe, a machine gunner, was credited with returning the insurgents’ fire and extinguishing the backpack fire with his hands, according to the Town Talk newspaper in Alexandria, La.

Gilboe then saw an insurgent with a rifle running directly at him.

Gilboe, who was unarmed, ran toward the insurgent, grabbed the rifle and pointed it toward his own chest-plate armor to prevent being shot on an unprotected part of his body.

After being knocked to the ground by the rifle shots, Gilboe fought the man in hand-to-hand combat until the insurgent was shot, the newspaper reported.

Gilboe joined the Army in 2006, the same year he graduated from Forest Hills. He is a member of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division at Fort Polk.

Gilboe’s heroism comes as no surprise to Jean Turner, secretary at the kindergarten through 12th grade Forest Hills Consolidated School.

He was “definitely enjoyable to be around,” Turner said. “Students literally and figuratively looked up to him.”

Turner said Gilboe, who is 6 foot, 4 inches tall, was a standout basketball player, had a great sense of humor and enjoyed helping out younger children in Boy Scouts, where he earned group’s highest rank of Eagle Scout.

The parade for Gilboe is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. at Mountainview Resort and end at Forest Hills Consolidated School.

Gilboe will greet community members at the school, and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-2nd District, will present him with an official Congressional Record statement.

The Silver Star is the third-highest combat military decoration awarded to a member of the armed forces for valor when confronting an enemy.

A message left with the Gilboes, whose other sons are Ben, Cody and Brandon, was not returned by deadline Wednesday.

Beth Staples — 861-9252

[email protected]

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For more about Sgt. Timothy Gilboe:

See The Town Talk at tinyurl.com/gilboestar.