BEAVER, Ohio (WTVN) -- A small Pike County town is ready to say good-bye to one of their own. Army Spc. Justin Helton was one of five U.S. soldiers killed by a friendly-fire incident in Afghanistan earlier this month.

Helton, 25, was a member of 192nd Ordnance Battalion, 18th Ordnance Company out of Ft Bragg, North Carolina. He was a 2006 graduate of Eastern High School.

"He always had a smile on his face. Wherever you saw him he was always smiling," said family friend Kris Rowe.

She says Justin was working with the local Pipefitters Union when one day he came home to tell his parents that he wanted to join the Army.

"They tried to talk him out of it, but he was like 'this is what I want to do with my life.'"

Rowe says letters from Helton's commanders indicate that he was a volunteer that always wanted to do whatever was asked of him and do it well.

"He actually had volunteered three times to go to Afghanistan. This last time is when they actually picked him to go," she said.

Helton's family says he planned to propose to his girlfriend, Lauren Kelley of Waverly, when he returned. She's listed as his fiancée in his obituary.

The funeral will be held at Eastern High School in Beaver at 11am Monday.


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