Laurel County Soldier Dies In Iraq

Teachers at North Laurel High School say there wasn't much Chris Hamlin wouldn't tackle.

“It was not good enough to do part of it. He wanted to do everything. All the activities, all the drill team,” says JROTC instructor Dennis Prichard.

And not just in the Junior ROTC where Hamlin's dreams of a military career began. He was a center, #42 on the basketball team. He helped his track team win trophies. And he touched many.

“And he was always looking at his future. He loved being a soldier. As tragic as this is, Chris died doing what he loved doing. He wanted to be a soldier,” says Commander Kenneth Vanourney

It’s been 6 years since Hamlin graduated and he started his military career but he's not been a stranger. His teachers says he frequently returned to talk to students and to be a role model.

Hamlin's death is especially tough on Vanourney's two daughters, who are both seeking military careers partly because of the influence Hamlin had on them.

“He really made the military life look appealing, through what he did,” says Janice Vanourney

“A hero pretty much because he knew how to embrace life. I mean he set goals for,” says Kenna Vanourney.

“He always felt like he was accomplishing something. But he always talked about those kids. He enjoyed working with those kids,” says Kenneth Vanourney.