LAKEWOOD, N.Y. (WIVB) - The death of Lance Corporal Aaron Swanson has shook the small town of Lakewood.
Lance Corporal Aaron Swanson's family is too distraught to talk on camera, but we caught up with some of his former teachers and coaches at his former high school, who are remembering the fun loving student with a great smile.
The small town of Lakewood in Chautauqua County is mourning the loss of a native son. 21-year-old Lance Corporal Aaron Swanson, died after being hit with an IED in Afghanistan. Just a few years ago, the Marine walked th halls of Southwestern High School, where his former teachers and coaches are remembering him with fondness. Adam Brown was Aaron's track coach and 11th grade teacher.
"He's the type of kid that may not have scored a bunch of points, but worked hard every day in practice. I don't even remember him missing a day. I always say if we could have had a whole team of Aaron Swansons, we would have a great team. I wish we could have a kid like him every year," said Brown.
And now the flag is at half staff outside the school, along with a tribute to the young hero, who was challenging himself while in school, like when he started to play football as a senior.
Aaron's football coach, Jay Sirianni, said, "That's a big challenge, starting to play football or any activity in your senior year, and he wanted to do that because it was challenging."
The 21-year-old joined the Reserves in the spring of 2009 and was called to active duty last May. He quickly rose to the ranks of Lance Corporal just two months ago. He attended Jamestown Community College for criminal justice, that's where one of his former teachers caught up with him.
His 11th grade teacher, Michelle Marsh Cresanti, said, "I was surprised to hear he enlisted after because he was in college and that shows me that he really felt the need to enlist and to go over and fight for his country and I'm proud of him for following his convictions."
Lance Corporal Aaron Swanson's body arrives at Dover Airforce Base on Wednesday and is expected in Jamestown on Thursday. Funeral arrangements are still being made.
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