He was always a natural-born leader with a brave soul and a brave heart. This is how Luke Hildebrand will forever remember his older brother Joseph. 

Joseph recently lost his life while fighting in the war in Ukraine.  

Luke provided details on how Joseph ended up in Ukraine and how important the mission was to him. 

"He has always been a natural-born leader with a brave soul and a brave heart to him. He didn't care for the oppression that Russia was trying to put on Ukraine. He decided that was his place in life to go to the fight and help Ukraine out."

He was always a brave man, always the first one to do anything. Even when we four boys went down to the lake, he was always the first one in. It didn't matter how cold it was, says Luke. 

From the age of 17 or 18, Joseph wanted to join the military and do a tour in Afghanistan. At 18 he signed up and went to Quebec to complete his training. Once his basic training was finished, he went to Edmonton and eventually also did two tours in Afghanistan before fighting most recently in Ukraine. 

According to Luke, he believes his brother would like to be remembered for how brave and tough he was along with his kind heart. 

Hearing stories from his squad, Luke reflects on the kindness and generosity of his brother.

"We had a few stories shared with us that if Joseph made a coffee, everyone in his squad in Ukraine had a coffee with him. If he was going to have a bite to eat, everybody ate then. He made sure everybody was well fed and well-watered."

This didn't surprise his brother who says that Joseph always tried to look after everyone and was always a protector. 

The community also meant a great deal to Joseph. He always had a great relationship with his neighbours according to Luke who says that during branding his brother would always want to be the first to go and help everyone else. 

"We would get finished our own branding and that afternoon he would be going to another. Just to help out in the community. He loved having neighbours and loved having friends that could depend on him."

Another love of Joseph's was his family along with his partner and her daughter Jovi. Luke says he was a good father and Jovi was very important to him. 

Joseph and Jovi. Photo courtesy of the Hildebrand Family

"He did make the ultimate sacrifice, in a war zone, especially fighting in a country to which he had no ties. He just felt he needed to go and help out. That was the protector and brave side of him. He wanted to make sure everyone could live as free as they could."

The Hildebrand family spent this past Remembrance Day paying tribute to Joseph by laying a wreath in memory of Joseph here in Swift Current. 

Luke adds that as a family, they have a lot of pride and respect for Joseph and for the selfless and brave acts he did.