Family and friends are remembering an eastern Kentucky soldier killed in Iraq.
Pike County native Gary Brent Coleman died nearly five years ago.
U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and others honored him for being a hero.
Monday would have been Brent Coleman's 29th birthday, but his life was cut short when he was 24.
He died serving his country.
He was called a hero, but his family says nearly five years later, they're still not over losing him.
Ruby Coleman Damron says she should be celebrating her youngest grandson's birthday, instead she is mourning his loss.
Corporal Gary Brent Coleman died just three days before he was supposed to come home on leave in November, 2003.
Military officials say He was chasing an enemy car in Iraq when His tank overturned in muddy water, and he drowned before his crew could save him.
“We were all devastated and haven't gotten over that stage,” Ruby Coleman said.
Senator Mitch McConnell didn't let Coleman's birthday go unnoticed. He honored him on the Senate floor.
Many remember Coleman's accomplishments on the football field.
The former running back still holds several rushing and scoring records at Pikeville High School, but his family says his dream was to be in the Army.
He died fulfilling his dream, but it is little consolation for his grandmother.
Pike County officials placed a plaque in the courthouse.
“Our beloved Brent Coleman gave his life in Iraq, so all could be free. We held his tender hand of Brent when he was a child. He was taken from us in the prime of his life,” Ruby Coleman-Damron said.
Coleman planned to make the military his career. His grandmother says she is proud her grandson sacrificed his life,
She wishes he was here to celebrate his 29th birthday with them.
Corporal Coleman earned several medals including the purple heart and bronze star.