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Friends remember Utah Marine killed in Afghanistan as 'selfless'

Marine Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, center, of Sandy was killed Thursday in a suicide bombing outside the Kabul Airport in Afghanistan. (Family photo)


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SANDY — Friends of Marine Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover remembered him and shared some of their favorite memories after he was killed, along with 12 other U.S. service members, in a suicide bombing outside the Kabul Airport in Afghanistan.

As time moves on, pictures become priceless.

Nate Thompson laughed Saturday as he looked back on football pictures of his long-haired glory days.

"Yup, yup," he said with a smile.

But one thing he said hasn't changed is the character of one of his teammates you can see in almost all those pictures.

Hoover was always the teammate you could count on.

"Met him when we were 10 years old. We played a lot of football together. Nicest kid off the field, but he gets on the field, and it's scary," said Thompson with a laugh. "He's a good guy."

So, when Thompson got an alert on his phone Friday that one of the Marines killed in Afghanistan was from Utah, the picture he saw stopped everything.

"When I opened it and his face popped up, and I just really couldn't, I was like, this can't be right. I saw his face before the name and I knew right then," he said.

Hoover was one of his Hillcrest High School classmates.

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They graduated in 2008.

Hoover from Sandy died when a suicide bomber detonated explosives outside the Kabul Airport in Afghanistan.

He and his team were checking IDs to help get Afghans into the airport and to safety.

"It doesn't surprise me that Taylor was front and center in this. He was always selfless, always the best friend," said Thompson.

It's the kind of thing KSL heard from several of his friends.

"Taylor was the type of guy that would jump in front of a train for anybody, and it didn't matter who you were," said Kayleigh Snedeger.

Snedeger grew up with Hoover and the two stayed close friends.

She shared a photo of Hoover wearing a shirt with her face on it when he couldn't make it to one of her birthday parties.

Taylor Hoover wears a shirt with his friend Kayleigh Snedeger's face on it when he couldn’t make it to one of her birthday parties.
Taylor Hoover wears a shirt with his friend Kayleigh Snedeger's face on it when he couldn’t make it to one of her birthday parties. (Photo: Family photo)

However, when her father passed away seven years ago, Hoover dropped everything.

"He was on the first flight here. Broken shoulder, just out of surgery. He was that friend," she said.

Hoover's girlfriend, Nicole Weiss, also shared photos with us, showing his softer, goofy side.

She is heartbroken. All his friends are.

Like those priceless pictures, the memories and friendship they all shared with Hoover will last forever.

"I just want everyone to remember how selfless he was," said Thompson. "And what a good person he was."

A memorial vigil for Hoover has been planned for Sunday, Aug. 29, at 8:30 on the South steps of the Utah Capitol Building.

His Marine friends have also set up a GoFundMe* page to help his family with any extra financial costs they may have at this time.

*KSL.com does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Alex Cabrero

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