Guardsman from Midlothian laid to rest

March 28, 2009 (MIDLOTHIAN, Ill.) Friends, family, and military colleagues gathered for the funeral of Sgt. Christopher Abeyta, who was one of three Illinois National Guardsmen killed in an explosion March 15 while serving in Afghanistan.

Abeyta's body was returned to Midlothian Thursday for a procession of last respects.

The sergeant's fellow guardsmen say he was a soldier others could rally behind.

" He joined the Guard, rose through the ranks, was a leader of those around him," said Cmdr. Michael Haerr of the 33rd brigade, Ill. National Guard. "Just a tremendous individual, willing to go the extra mile for his friends and his country."

Abeyta died during his second tour of duty in the Middle East. Previously, he had served a tour in Iraq.

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