Hundreds honor local hero

By Anna Yee

April 29, 2012 Updated Apr 30, 2012 at 10:55 AM CDT

PEKIN, Ill. -- Ten days after he was killed in Afghanistan, hundreds turned out for the visitation of Army Sergeant Dean Shaffer.

On Sunday, hundreds of people paid their respects to the Pekin native.

Members of the Patriot Guard lined the walkways of the Preston-Hanley funeral home.

The 23-year-old was killed more than a week ago in Afghanistan when the Black Hawk helicopter he was in crashed, killing Sergeant Shaffer and three other soldiers.

Hometown friend Tobias Rogerson, who attended the visitation, says Shaffer was a friend to all.

"This just shows that it's not about blood," said Rogerson. "It's about the memories and what connection you have to that person, and for everybody to come out and support Dean and support his family and support his memory, it means a lot a shows a lot for this community."

According to the Department of Defense, Sergeant Dean Shaffer was aboard a Black Hawk helicopter that was helping provide medical support to injured Afghan forces.

There have been conflicting reports as to what brought down the helicopter, some citing bad weather, others, an insurgent attack.

Sergeant Shaffer's visitation ended at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.

His funeral service will be Monday at 10:00 a.m., at the Preston-Hanley Funeral Home in Pekin. The address is 500 North 4th Street.

Afterwards, a burial with full military honors will be held at Prairie Haven Cemetery at 200 South Veterans Drive in Pekin.

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