BERNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Hundreds of people gathered in the gymnasium of South Adams High School on Monday to pay their respects to the family of 20-year-old Army Specialist Nick Taylor, who was killed in action two weeks ago in Afghanistan.
A viewing was held from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Monday. Inside the doors, people could write down their favorite memories of the 2010 South Adams High School graduate. They could also contribute to care packets being sent to soldiers still fighting overseas.
A steady line of friends, family, teammates and supporters wrapped around the gymnasium as people awaited their chance to pass by the casket and offer condolences to Taylor's family members.
Many of the people in attendance, like Tony Mellencamp, knew Taylor personally. "We've known Nick ever since he was just a little boy," the family friend recalls. "It's a small town. Everybody knows everybody."
17-year-old Nathan Winn grew up next door to Taylor. "I don't even know if I'm out of shock yet," Winn says. "He was just a great person - fun loving and the kind of person everybody loved to be around. I was with him in football and wrestling, and he was the captain both times I was with him."
Monday was the first day of football practice for South Adams Head Coach Jason Arnold, but he says it's difficult to focus on the task at hand. "There's a cloud right now over our football program; kids having a little bit of a problem with that and coaches struggling."
Others attending the funeral knew only of the sacrifice Taylor made for his country. "You put your life on the line and there's a camaraderie there," says World War II veteran Gareth Baker.
"Those who are willing to go out and defend us and protect us and pay a price - they're worthy of honor," Baker says. "If we don't honor our fallen, then as a country we've pretty well had it."
The son of Berne's Police Chief, Tim Taylor, it seemed everyone at the viewing had a fond memory to share about Taylor.
"He was such a vibrant young man," remembers Mellencamp. "He was going to be a policeman like his dad. He was the friendliest kid you could ever want to meet - full of life and vigor. He went over to Afghanistan for all the right reasons, and unfortunately, he gave his life for that."
The funeral is set for Tuesday morning at 11:00 a.m.
Berne, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - A fallen hero has returned home. Berne native, Spc. Nick Taylor was killed in action in Afghanistan last week. On Sunday he was flown to the 122nd Fighter Wing in Fort Wayne.
The visitation is scheduled for Monday July 30 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 2 to 8 p.m. at South Adams High School in the gymnasium. The funeral service will also be at South Adams High School on Tuesday July 31 at 11 a.m.
After the service they will then go to the cemetery by taking Parkway Street to County Road 150 and then State Road 218.
The family has invited the public to both the service and to the cemetery for the burial.
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