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SANDY — Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, who was among the 13 U.S. service members killed in a suicide bombing outside the Kabul airport in Afghanistan last month, will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
But before Hoover is laid to rest across the Potomac River from Washington, friends and family members will gather here in Utah this Saturday to honor his life.
Football players know the feeling of sacrifice, teamwork and being part of something bigger than yourself, which is why Hoover loved playing for Hillcrest High School.
"That was just him," said Taylor's father, Darin Hoover.
It's also why the school's football field is where a memorial service will be held this Saturday at 6:30 p.m. for people to say goodbye to him.
"It's just a remembrance of him and who he was. The big teddy bear, kind, loving, the man he became. The man and leader he became," Hoover said about his son.
Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover was the leader of a group of Marines when they were killed in a suicide bombing last month at a checkpoint outside the Kabul airport.
Hoover's father can't believe how much support the family has received.
"We've gotten cards and letters from all over the place," Darin Hoover said. "The outpouring of love and respect and everything from friends and teammates, especially the ones in the Corps. It's been phenomenal. Every corner of the state has literally reached out."
As well as all corners of the country, which is why Hoover's family decided to have him buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, so he can be at rest with other American heroes.
That service will be held on Friday, Sept. 24.
"He's a warrior. You know? They're all warriors," said Darin Hoover. "They all deserve that, whether the other families or not wanted to do it, we're going to make a family trip out of it every year now."
Just like football seasons, the memories of Taylor Hoover will continue.
"To me, it's brought a sense of community back. If that makes sense," said Darin Hoover. "It's brought a lot of people together."