ALBANY, Ore. — An Albany family is grieving after getting the worst kind of news.
One of their loved ones serving in Afghanistan was killed.
Lance Cpl. Joseph E. Rodewald, 21, of Albany, died after being hit by a roadside bomb.
The Marine’s family and friends say he was brave beyond words and was doing what he loved.
“When they told me that I couldn’t believe it. It was very numbing,” Jacque Brotherton, Joseph’s mother.
“Actually, I thought that they were just going to tell me that he was seriously injured, because Joe of all people, you would think that he’d last forever,” Brotherton said.
Rodewald’s family says he was riding in a convoy in the crow’s nest as a gunner when he was hit buy an IED or roadside bomb.
He was rushed to a hospital, but the injuries were too severe.
“I didn’t expect it because he just went over there. He had high hopes,” said John Rodewald, Joseph’s father.
Rodewald’s father, along with the rest of his family is now remembering the man they say lived to serve his country.
The South Albany High School grad played football, wrestled, and was a team leader.
“He was really that ultimate teammate that encouraged other people to do their best, so that leader by example is how I’ll remember him,” said Brent Belveal, former football coach.
His family says that memory now serves as an example to others not only for the life he gave fighting for his country, but it shows just how short life can be.
“When you’re with someone and they’re leaving, don’t hold back, don’t just tell them you love them, hug them, because you never know,” said Josiah Rodewald, Joseph’s brother.
The Rodewald family will now travel to Maryland then to the Dover Air Force Base where the Marine will be transferred. They say a memorial service will be planned sometime next week.