He had a smile that could light up a room.
At just 20 years old Lance Corporal Derek Hernandez was already considered a hero.
"He's my hero, he's our hero, said Derek TMs brother Israel Riley Hernandez. He died doing what he wanted to do and that's fighting for our country and for our freedom." Hundreds gathered to honor the fallen Marine who was killed while serving his first tour in Afghanistan. While the pain of losing a son, brother, and best friend hit those who knew Derek best hard,"this was just so unexpected, no one expects this." The outcry of support from those who did not know him helped the family get through this difficult time.
"The support is unbelievable it's amazing," said Hernandez.
Onlookers watched as Derek TMs mother, Virginia, accepted an American Flag as her son was given the full military honors he deserved.
Despite the tragic circumstances, all who knew Derek say he is not far.
He's in our hearts, said Derek TMs father, Israel Hernandez.I'll see him through my younger sons."