MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Finding a dry eye at Red Level School is hard to do.
The loss of Sgt. David Gordon leaves a void at his old stomping ground.
Gordon died from Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Virus found in some ticks in Afghanistan.
It's believed he's the first American soldier to ever get the virus over there.
And while loved ones say he was the victim of unfortunate circumstances, they say he was fulfilling a dream.
"Ever since I remember, we tried to get him to play football our senior year. He was like, 'man I can't play football, I might get hurt.' Then they won't let me be in the Army," says Gordon's friend Troy Staley.
It was a love for his country and others that make his death hard to handle--especially for those who watched Gordon grow year in and year out.
"He just got along with everyone. He was not one of those people that was part of a clique. He was a unifying presence at school," says Red Level Teacher, Tina Shiver.
"He had probably the kindest spirit of any child that ever came through my class," says teacher Ellen Sikes.
From the classroom to his career, friends and family say it was easy to see where his allegiance lied.
"He would come home and come visit us here at school, and he would be in uniform because he was so proud of the country that he served. He paid the ultimate price and I just know that he served for the greater good," says teacher, Dawn Kelley.
Teachers say they'll work to help keep Gordon's memory alive.
They're already talking to students about his contribution to his country.
They're hoping to purchase picnic tables and benches in his honor.
Sgt. Gordon was 22 years old.