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Waverly-Shell Rock Honors a Fallen Hero

WAVERLY, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- No matter how hard you can't prepare for that moment.

It's a moment that the Nichols' family experienced in 2011, when they learned that an IED ended the life of their son Donny in Afghanistan.

I didn't believe it, they had to come back out and re-notify us, Donnys stepmother Jeanie Nichols said. I thought it was a mistake, and I'm sure all parents hope it's a mistake, but unfortunately it wasn't.

Monday was a day to reflect on his legacy at his old high school and dedicate a monument to his memory.

Great man, had a lot to learn, had a lot going in his life, said Captain Justin Foote with the Iowa Army National Guard. Unfortunately, he was taken too soon.

I want people to remember Donny as a good friend, as a good boyfriend to his girlfriend Chelsea, and a good American, Jeanie Nichols said.

Everybody that knew Donny personally said he had a wonderful, memorable impact in their lives. However, that influence didn't stop with just the people who knew him.

Take the Patriot guard riders for example, who came from all over Iowa bearing the stars and stripes in his memory.

We always want to make sure that we never forget the sacrifices our veterans made, said Bret Ford with the Patriot Guard Riders

As for the students of Waverly-Shell Rock, they never met Donny, but each step today toward the monument provided perspective.

Really shows how mature he was to be able to do that. I know people that couldn't do that, I couldn't do that, said Waverly-Shell Rock Student Nicole Staines.

Donny's monument is placed near the marker for Karen Kincaid, another Waverly-Shell Rock graduate. She was killed on September 11th 2001, when American Airlines flight 77 was hijacked and crashed into the Pentagon.
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