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Soldiers from Loveland and Scotland form unlikely bond over hockey

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LOVELAND, Colo. -- Two words you rarely hear together: War and friendship.  But in 2008 in Afghanistan, a bond was forged between an American soldier from Loveland, and a Scot fighting for the British army.

Two men who shared a love for hockey.

Unfortunately, Army Sgt. Isaac Palomarez was the first northern Coloradan to die in Operation Enduring Freedom -- three days before Mother’s Day 2008.

“He was going to come back from Afghanistan,” said Palomarez’s mother. “And then, he didn`t.'

But Pfc. Andy Barnard knew he had to keep up his end of their bargain – to make a trip to the United States.  And nearly seven years after the death of his friend, Andy did it.

"A month after I had left Afghanistan, it wasn`t until a couple of months afterward I found out he was killed in action,” Barnard said.

Andy's visit to America was full of memories. He even got the chance to take the ice with some Avalanche legends.

"Isaac was a hockey fan, and the Avalanche was his team," said Palomarez’s mother.

And it never would`ve happened the way it did without the help of the Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation, a local nonprofit that sprang into action when they heard Andy`s story.

Sgt. Palomarez is buried near his family home in Loveland.

As for Andy, after spending nearly a month in Colorado, he hopes to one day get the chance to study in our state. A Go Fund Me site has been set up to help.

 

 

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