By Maki Becker BUFFALO NEWS STAFF REPORTER August 21, 2009, 6:43 AM / 0 comments Sylvia Rethmel’s heart fell to the floor when she picked up the phone at 6 a. m. on June 21. It was the Army calling. “Mrs. Rethmel,” they asked the 20-year-old Olean native. “Have you heard from your husband?” Spec. Brandon Rethmel, 22, had been severely injured in a mortar attack on his base in Afghanistan, just two weeks after being deployed. Sylvia Rethmel would later learn that her husband — and father of their year-old daughter Mariah — had been on duty on a guard tower when it was hit by a mortar. Rethmel lost his left leg below the knee.
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