Hundreds of people braved a drizzling rain and windy conditions Thursday night in Seguin to say goodbye to a local hero.
Community leaders and residents gathered at Seguin High School's Matador Stadium to say a final farewell to their friend and former classmate 28-year-old Army Staff Sgt. Richard Vazquez.
Vazquez and another soldier were killed by an IED blast while on patrol in Afghanistan on Nov. 13. The blast injured other members of his unit, some of them lost limbs.
A 2004 graduate of Seguin High School, Vazquez proved himself as a leader on the football field and on the track.
Friends said they weren't at all surprised when Vazquez joined the Army after graduation.
"We knew he was going to be great things, we knew he wasn't just going in there to sit around and just be in the Army," said Robby Heyward, a former teammate and friend. "He excelled and made quick progress in the Army and we're very proud of that."
Vazquez joined the Army in Aug. 2004 and became a Green Beret in 2010. He served in Iraq, Afghanistan and several missions in other countries earning numerous awards and decorations along the way.
"He put 100 percent into everything, like football, school and of course when he went to the Army," said older brother Romario Vazquez. "Ten years down the road, he's a Green Beret, y'all can just see by all the medals and all the media how he achieved so much."
As they prepared to lay their hero to rest, family members said they are finding strength in the outpouring of support from their community.
"I can't thank everyone enough, for everybody's support and all I can't thank them enough we're honored that they did this for him."