CEDAR HILL, MO (KTVI) - As we recognize those who fought for our country on this 70th anniversary of D-Day, a Jefferson County community is mourning the loss of a young soldier. Private First Class Matt Walker, who served in the 101st Airborne Division, was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan.
His best friend, Daniel Nixon, says Walker never had a doubt he wanted to be a soldier, just like his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather before him: “He had planned ever since he was a little kid. It was something he was proud to take on for his name. He was proud to be the next one in the family, to serve for our country.”
His friends say he was a selfless person, a mentor, and a leader. Walker graduated from Grandview High School in 2012, where he loved playing football. He is survived by his parents, two sisters and a brother.
“He was an inspiration to everybody. He always kept everybody in a good attitude, whether he was having a bad day or not, he just let it go, and was more worried about other people, his friends, his family,” says Nixon.
His sudden death is surreal for his friends, who last saw him in January, right before he deployed to Afghanistan.
“He was telling us all about basic training and everything, I thought he was going to be ok,” explains Tyler Frederick, also a best friend of Walker’s.
His friends say Walker was supposed to come back home in just two months, and that’s when he planned to propose to his girlfriend.
“Brokenhearted, I was really brokenhearted when Danny told me yesterday. I couldn’t believe it. I’ve never lost a friend before,” says Frederick.
Nixon adds, “He was a brother. The only thing that separated us was blood. So you gotta take it one day at a time.”
According to the Grandview School District superintendent, school district officials will meet Monday to discuss paying their respects to this brave young soldier and his family. The Big River VFW in Cedar Hill plans to memorialize Walker as well.