Family describes life of fallen soldier from Keystone Heights
Sgt. Dick Lee Jr. 1 of 2 Army sergeants killed while serving in Afghanistan
Sgt. Dick Lee Jr.'s commanding officer calls him a great soldier and says it was an honor to serve with him.
Lee, 31, and Staff Sgt. Brandon Eggleston, 29, died Thursday in Ghanzi province in Afghanistan from injuries suffered when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device.
Family and friends in Keystone Heights, where his parents and brother still live, knew him as Alson.
His father said Monday he's still having a difficult time coming to terms with what happened, but he said on Thursday, he lost the greatest son anyone could ever ask for.
Lee's brother, Michael Carroll, said Lee was amazing and everyone loved him.
"He was a great father to his two young boys. He was good to his wife, everybody," Carroll said in a phone interview. "Nobody who ever knew him could say he was a bad man. He wouldn’t hurt anybody for any reason. He was a straight good honest man."
Since the early years, Lee's family knew he would be in the service. He always wanted to be part of the military police.
After high school, that dream came true. He became a Military Police dog handler. He and did two tours in Iraq and was on his third in Afghanistan.
"We were kids growing, he'd be running around with stick rifles and we'd be playing commando out in the woods and stuff like that," Carroll said. "The military was his calling from day one."
Lee graduated from Keystone Heights Junior/Senior High School in 2000.
"As soon as he was gone, right off to basic training," said Carroll.
That was 12 years ago, but he's still remembered there on campus as a great person who would do anything for anyone.
"Very hard worker, did everything you asked on the field," Keystone Heights football coach Chuck Dickinson said. "You didn't question his effort. Just a great young man."
Dickinson gave Lee the outstanding linebacker award when Lee played for the Indians. He said he'll never forget the man he mentored.
"Those type of people that are in the military are heroes. They give it all every day," Dickinson said.
As Lee's family tries to cope with the tragedy, his brother has this message:
"Our soldiers who are fighting for us, if you see one of them, you walk up and shake his hand," Carroll said. "All of them, every day they risk a lot, and including my brother, they are all heroes no matter what."
Lee's father said in about five to 10 days, the military will fly his son's body to Naval Air Station Jacksonville because he said his son wanted to have his funeral and be buried locally in northeast Florida.
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