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Friends, family remember fallen marine

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (KTHV) - Nearly a month after four members of the military were shot and killed outside a recruiting center in Chattanooga, Tenn., the city of Russellville pays their respects.

One of the four killed, a hometown hero, was Staff Sergeat David Wyatt.

Over a thousand people attended the candlelight vigil held in Staff Sgt. Wyatt's honor, including his family, any military members from across the state, congressmen and his graduating class of 1998.

Those 1998 alumni were the organizers of the service, wanting a night to honor their classmate from the place they first met him.

"Ever since we graduated, if one thing happened to one of us, it happened to all of us. To support each other through good times and bad times. We're extended family," said Brian Duesterbeck, a friend of Staff Sgt. Wyatt, who also organized the vigil.

Russellville class of 1998 sat together in the center bleachers to mourn the loss of their classmate.

"We tried to keep it as much about the city of Russellville and David growing up here as possible, but at the same time incorporating his military life."

"It shows me that we still have a lot of patriotic pride," said Duesterbeck.

Aside from the marines, Staff Sergeant Wyatt left a legacy for young Eagle Scouts to aspire to.

"David's one of those who truly lived the scout's oath and law," said Leslie Teaff.

Teaff, his former Eagle Scout leader, says that Staff Sgt. Wyatt was kind to everyone. "He's one of the special people, one of the people that everyone liked."

The front of Russellville High School had an Arkansas Fallen Soldiers Memorial to honor 141 Arkansans, including Staff Sgt. Wyatt, who have died since 9-11.

"David's family placed his plaque and flag in the ground first," said Duesterbeck, "I hope it gives David's family some joy to see the support and helps in the healing process."

During Friday night's vigil, an aid to Governor Asa Hutchinson proclaimed August 7 as "Staff Sergeant David Wyatt Day."