A Celebration of Life service was held for fallen Marine Corporal Hunter Lopez. Friends and family of Lopez took time to remember and honor the life he lived.
"Before he became a Marine, Hunter was a son to Alicia and Herman. He was a brother to Owen and Trinity. A friend of many, a student, an Explorer Scout Captain with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department," said Sheriff's Department Lieutenant Tim Brause.
Lopez grew up with a love for anything star wars.
"I think he chose the Marine Corps because he couldn't find a recruiting office for aspiring Jedi Knights. We all know Marines are strong in the force, and that was his second choice," said Brause.
One of his uncles, Juan Carlos Lopez, says Corporal Lopez knew from a young age that he wanted to be a Marine.
"I could see the glow of happiness from him just ready to go out and do what he wanted to do. Ever since he was like 10 or 11, he's always had a plan and he executed. He always did what he said he was going to do," said Carlos Lopez.
He was always determined to put others above himself.
"He was the kind of friend you always wanted by your side. He was the kind of friend that would do anything for you. I can't tell you how many times he would grab me and Matt by the shoulders- he'd tell us he take a bullet for us," said childhood friend Nick Conoway. "And we always laughed when he said this. Not because we didn't believe him. But just because we couldn't take him that seriously. But we know he meant it."
Lopez was said to have rescued two young girls at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. That rescue would mark the final heroic moment of Corporal Lopez's life. In his short life, Lopez dedicated himself to service.
"He idolized men that made sacrifices for others and those huge men of high caliber. I don't think Hunter realized that he became that and that his heroes would become his peers," said Marine Michael Chambers.
Corporal Lopez's heroic legacy lives on inside every heart he has touched. Teaching the ultimate lesson of bravery and courage.
"It's our duty as his friends, family, and community to continue that for him. Live fearlessly in honor of him, do not hold back," said Lance Corporal Julian Valles. "Don't second guess yourself the way Hunter would not have wanted to. Live the life that you told Hunter you were going to live. Achieve the goals you promised that you would seek and remain faithful to him and his purpose."