A memorial service and funeral was held Thursday for Chief Petty Officer Christian Pike. The Peoria sailor died last week from injuries he suffered while fighting in Afghanistan.
Pike's mother is our co-worker, so this loss is very personal to us at FOX 10.
Family and friends arrived at Christ's Church of the Valley to celebrate the life of the 31-year-old sailor who died in combat on March 10.
Across the street, Stacey Noel waved her American flag as a way to honor the man she never met but considers a hero.
"I wanted to pay my respects to Christian Pike and his family -- his mother and his friends. I appreciate his service to his country. I appreciate his sacrifice," she said.
Chief Petty Officer Pike's family says he will be remembered as a man who was always upbeat and made those around him happy.
From his baby pictures to his official military photos, he always had a smile on his face. He kept up that attitude even after several deployments to Afghanistan.
Pike was looking forward to coming home next month to see his family and his fiancee. They were by his side when he passed away in a Germany hospital.
"Each and every day we need to appreciate the sacrifices that these soldiers make for our country -- and the sacrifices their families make for this country," said Noel.
Pike donated his organs -- saving people even after his death.