Just last spring, Shane Penley graduated from Bloom Trail High School. Thursday, his family said goodbye. The 19-year-old died earlier this month from wounds suffered while on duty at a guard post in Iraq. Shane was the youngest of four, his parents only son.
"He was a good guy. He loved his sisters, his family, his nieces and nephews, he just loved them," said Cathy Penley, aunt.
Shane joined the Army last June. When he learned he was going to Iraq his family was concerned about his safety. Shane had promised them he would be all right.
"He knew the risks but he was very brave. He was very brave. But once he set his mind to something that's what he did," said Jennifer Penley, cousin.
Penley's family says joining the military was supposed to be a way to a bright future with a family and a job as a police officer. It was also something he had always wanted to do.
"That young man brought his pastor one more opportunity to stand in this pulpit and preach what I believe God gives me the light to preach," said Pastor Jack Schapp, First Baptist Church.
Through their grief family members say they're proud of Shane and his service to his country.
"I feel very sad, but very proud of Shane. This is what Shane wanted to do," said Cathy Penley.
Penley was a member of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. That state's governor asked that flags fly at half-staff until sunset Thursday.