A Community Remembers a Local Fallen Hero - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

A Community Remembers a Local Fallen Hero

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YAKIMA, Wash.--Everyone watched in silence as Captain Aaron Blanchard's body was carried into Stone Church.

"It's amazing to see the firefighters, the police department and the Patriot Guard, the Marine Corps and the National Guard," said Staff Sergeant Maria Lepe. "Everyone in the entire community come together to pay their respects to show the Blanchard family that they care."

"I'd take a bullet for him, anybody would," said Limwell Mangrubang, a close friend. "You saw today, I don't know how to explain it but just the guy that you can literally go up to anytime and bring up any problems that you might have. He's definitely going to be missed."

Captain Blanchard grew up in Selah. His friends said from an early age, he always knew what he wanted to do. After graduating Selah High School, he enlisted in the Marine Corps and eventually the Army as well.

"He wanted to fly," said Mangrubang. "He wanted to protect these people that are on the ground so he gave it all he got to make sure everybody's free and happy."

Captain Blanchard's life ended too soon when a missile was launched into the forward operating base he was stationed at in Afghanistan last week. His funeral was about remembering a man who cared about everyone. Now, Captain Blanchard's friends said it's time to return the love and take care of his family and the young children he leaves behind.

"Becky, Mia and Hunter, you got fathers, friends and family all around you alright," said Mangrubang.

Governor Jay Inslee paid his respects at the church Saturday morning. He also ordered flags across the state to be lowered to half-staff in memory of Captain Blanchard.

The soldier will be laid to rest Sunday at the Washington State Veterans Cemetery at Medical Lake.