03/05/2008 at 03:50 PM EST
In front of 400 friends and family, and with boyfriend Spencer Pratt at her side, The Hills
star Heidi Montag bid a tearful goodbye to her stepbrother Eric O'Hara at a memorial service Wednesday in their hometown of Steamboat Springs, Colo.
"I didn't write anything down today, just couldn't. Eric was the best brother I could ask for," Montag said as she stood at the podium with their other siblings. "He was happy, strong and an amazingly patriotic person. I'll never forget how he could make me smile. I will remember all the times we had together and cherish all the memories, the goods ones and the bad ones. Eric was a true hero. I love him and I will miss him."
Montag, who flew back to Colorado after O'Hara, 24, died in a freak accident
last Thursday, took solace in her family during the service.
After serviceman from O'Hara's 82nd Airborne Division gathered around his flag-draped casket to share stories about his military service (O'Hara was a veteran of several combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan), the family headed across the snow-covered street to the Tugboat Grill and Bar.
In a statement to PEOPLE, Montag said she was just "glad I can be with my family at this time."