It was standing room only as Wyoming County Army Specialist was laid to rest Friday after he was shot and killed in Texas earlier this month. YNN's Meg Rossman has more on how friends and family are remembering Army Specialist Austin Sampson.
WARSAW, N.Y. — Stay dedicated to your family and your country.
They were words that Army Specialist Austin Sampson lived by and were repeated as friends and family said their final goodbyes Friday.
"Obviously hard for me, but at the same time nowhere near as hard it would be for his brothers, his mom, his dad," friend Mike Martin said.
All of whom were on hand at the Robinson & Hackemer Funeral home in Warsaw weeks after their brother and son was shot and killed in Killeen, Texas, January 4.
"It hit me hard because I had just seen him right around Christmas, he came up here on leave," former classmate Joshua Hunsinger said.
And days after Sampson returned to Texas, where he was stationed, police there said he and two others were shot while parked outside a convenient store.
"I was in total shock when I heard the news," Hunsinger said.
The 2006 Letchworth Central School graduate, who friends described as a family man with a mischievous sense of humor, was still on active duty at the time of his death.
The 25-year-old served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn – and as an inspiration to others.
"We stayed pretty close over the years and he influenced me to join the Army after he did."
In fact, Hunsinger said the decorated Army specialist was dedicated to his service, enlisting in 2006 with no plans to stop any time soon.
"As far as I know, all he ever talked about was continuing and retiring after 20 years, that's all he ever talked about."
Specialist Sampson was buried with full military honors in the Town of Bliss.
Seventeen-year-old Terry Grant Scott has been charged with murder in connection with his death.