11/1/2014

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A final goodbye to a hometown hero

A final goodbye to a hometown hero
YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. -- Hundreds of people came together today to honor Captain Aaron Blanchard, a local soldier killed in Afghanistan last week. The 32-year-old father was both a proud marine and soldier. People from near and far showed up to pay their respects for a man who died for our country.

Hundreds of people from the community, law enforcement, and the military joined Captain Blanchard's family and friends to celebrate his life at Stone Church in Yakima.

"He's a brother of ours and we're here to pay our final respects," said Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Andy Lucero.

"It just blows me away that this is the kind of support that they're able to show for one of their own," Blanchard's friend Kenneth Smith said.

The 32-year-old father of two was killed in Afghanistan when a missile hit his camp in April.

"People here sometimes can forget that there's still a war going on and Captain Blanchard is a perfect example of being an American Hero," Staff Sergeant Maria Lepe said.

Raised in Selah, Captain Blanchard always wanted to be in the military. He served two tours in Iraq during his 5 years in the Marine Corps. He then joined the Army to fly and became a helicopter pilot. Just before deploying to Afghanistan, he was promoted to Captain. His friends tell Action News he was so much more than the military.

"If there was a good time to be had he was going to find it," Smith said.

He was a family man who loved the outdoors, and his life was cut short, but Blanchard's friends still laugh about the good times.

"It was just always a good time to be around him," Smith said. "Just so many stories, some of them not appropriate for camera."

Governor Inslee attended to pay his respects and made a statement that all state flags were at half staff.
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