Army Sergeant Dennis Corrall was not supposed to be in Iraq, at least not yet. The 33-year-old's family says he had been at Fort Riley, Kansas, since October and was scheduled to deploy this month.
His family told the Kearney Hub, however, that he volunteered to go early in place of another soldier who was married with children.
Corrall was killed when his vehicle in a convoy went out of control and crashed on New Year's Day.
A memorial service is planned for him Thursday morning at Fort Riley. A funeral will be later in California, where he was born and where his father and two brothers still live.
Corrall's mother, Yolanda, lives in Holdrege. She says her son was always been willing to step forward to help.
Corrall moved to Kearney in 1994 and worked at Perkins. He re-entered the service in January 1997. His mother says he decided to go back and make it a career. He was transferred to different bases, ending up in Fort Riley in October 2003.