MOREHEAD, Ky. (WYMT) - Hundreds of people paid their final respects Thursday to an eastern Kentucky soldier killed in Afghanistan.
A memorial service was held at Morehead First Church of God for Air Force Staff Sgt. Daniel Fannin, 30, who died on April 27 in a plane crash near Kandahar Airfield.
"This young man needs all the honor that he can receive for what he has done for our country," said Jim Clendenning with Kentucky Patriot Guard Riders.
Members of the group held flags outside the church door and provided a barrier in case any military funeral protesters tried to disturb the family.
"We're patriots and veterans and we love our country," Clendenning said. "And anyone who gives their life for our country deserves to have us here to honor them."
Danny Valentine, another member of the riders, said, "I'm a Vietnam vet and I want to make sure that nobody ever gets treated like we did. We're going to be here when these young men go down...and make sure that the family knows that there's somebody out there that does care."
After the service, the riders escorted Fannin's remains to a nearby airport. His body was flown to Oklahoma to be buried.
Military officials are investigating the crash that killed Fannin and three other airmen.
There were no reports of enemy activity in the area at the time.
Fannin leaves behind his wife and several other family members. None of them wanted to be interviewed.
Story from 4/30/13:
Frankfort, Ky. (WKYT) - Governor Steve Beshear has ordered flags at all state buildings to be lowered to half-staff in honor of a Kentucky airman killed in Afghanistan.
30-year-old Staff Sergeant Daniel Fannin of Morehead died in a plane crash Saturday near Kandahair Airfield in Afghanistan. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
Staff Sgt. Fannin was assigned to the 552nd Operations Support Squadron, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma.
Fannin's family released a statement saying he always had a smile, kind words and a heart of gold. They have asked for prayers for other troops and privacy during this difficult time.
Flags will stay at half-staff in honor of Fannin until sunset on the day of his funeral, arrangements are still pending.