Nearly 1,000 people paid tribute at a memorial service for a Beaverton soldier killed in Afghanistan.
Spc. John A. Pelham, 22, was killed by enemy gunfire in Kapisa Providence on Feb. 12.
The service was held Monday morning at the Beaverton Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where the Pelham family has long attended.
Pelham's parents, siblings and fiancee spoke at the service, many recalling the soldier's infectious grin and larger-than-life personality.
The show of support at the memorial service is "beyond words, amazing," said Pelham's father, Wendall Pelham.
"To see a thousand some odd people show up today for his service just helps the family recognize how much he's loved and how much our troops are loved," said Wendall Pelham.
The family also finds great comfort in their faith, he said.
"We know that we'll see John again," said Wendall Pelham. "I really hope heavenly father has a good sense of humor."
Outside the church, Patriot Guard members holding American flags lined the road leading up to the church and the parking lot.
Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue raised a large American Flag over the entrance to the church.
Many more people line the route of the procession carrying John Pelham's body to Willamette National Cemetery.
The Pelham family would appreciate donations to the Central Oregon Youth Investment Foundation. The organization supports the Oregon Youth Challenge Program, which John Pelham attended as a teen.
To learn about how to donate, contact Karen Rawnsley at email@example.com or at 23861 Dodds Rd., Bend, OR 97701.
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