Family members say Thomas Mayberry was a proud soldier. A man, they say, needed the army more than anyone else. We spoke with his aunt in La Grande, Oregon.
"He wasn't going to let anything in his past hold him back."
Julie Siefker knew Thomas Mayberry well. She knew about the parents losing custody of him and his brother. She knew about his early years in Clovis and Porterville were he bounced from one continuation school to the next.
"He came from a rough road. The boys were having a rough time with just Grandma raising them," said Siefker.
But what his aunt will remember is what changed him, the Army.
"He wanted to be deployed. He wanted to go fight for his country. He made something of himself and he was so proud of it," said Siefker.
Mayberry was killed by an I.E.D. Two other soldiers were killed in that attack in Afghanistan.
"He is my hero. Absolutely my hero," said Siefker.
The funeral will be held in Oregon where most of his family lives. Family members say it will be held at the La Grande National Guard Armory.