STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - Many in Statesboro preparing for a somber homecoming.
The body of Staff Sgt. Chester McBride, an Air Force member killed in Afghanistan last week, arrives Friday for a funeral this weekend.
The rest of America now knows Chester McBride as a fallen military hero. But people in Statesboro already knew him as a person of character, an outstanding teammate and student. Some memories go back to his first day of school.
Christie Page keeps papers and pictures of her first grade students, including a young Chester McBride in 1991. She saw news of his death on Facebook.
"I gasped and said 'he's mine'. My husband asked what I meant and I said 'he's one of my first grade babies'," said Page. "That was 24 years ago and it all came rushing back. I remember Chester coming in and being full of life and he had this wonderful smile."
Fellow Airmen Nick Wedlow played football with McBride on the Statesboro High School State Champion team in 2001.
"Chester was a role model in everything he did, from his football days to academics to the Air Force. He excelled at everything," said SSgt. Wedlow.
Both say this community can be proud of its fallen son.
SSgt. McBride's body will be brought through town over on North Main, then down West Main and eventually to Agape Worship Center. Organizers of this processional hope everyone comes out to show their support for McBride's family.