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Family, Community Recall NH Marine As Selfless, Hard-Working Young Man

By Bree Sison, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) – Several towns in New Hampshire are mourning an exuberant teenager who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.

Lance Cpl. Brandon Garabrant, 19, two other Americans, and a military dog were killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan Friday morning.

Garabrant deployed to Afghanistan in April with the Marines, according to his mother, Jessie Evans.  He was serving as a gunner atop a tank-like vehicle at the time of his death.

“It still doesn’t seem real,” Evans told WBZ.  “But we’re very proud of him and how much he was able to do in such a short life.”

Garabrant had the resume of someone 10 years older.  He served as a volunteer firefighter in Temple, a member of the Jaffrey Bible Church youth ensemble, an intern for New Hampshire’s DOT, and worked at Touchstone Farm.

Before joining the Marines, Brandon Garabrant served as a volunteer firefighter in Temple, N.H. (Family photo)

Before joining the Marines, Brandon Garabrant served as a volunteer firefighter in Temple, N.H. (Family photo)

“Brandon was just so excited about (joining the Marines) and was so hopeful,” remembered his former boss, Isabella Martin.  “He thought this was going to be such a great adventure.”

The flags at Martin’s Touchstone Farm flew at half-staff Saturday for Garabrant. The Temple pony farm hosts several “Warrior Camps” throughout the year, providing equine therapy for military members returning from war. Martin saID they will now push to do even more work with veterans in honor of their former maintenance worker.

Born on Veteran’s Day in 1994, Garabrant enlisted in the Marines at 18.  He finished high school classes a semester early so he could attend boot camp at Parris Island, S.C., last spring.

Garabrant graduated from basic training on June 7, 2013, one day before his high school graduation at ConVal Regional in Peterborough. He had requested to wear his uniform during graduation, but the school did not allow it.

The school has released a statement reacting to Garabrant’s death.

“On behalf of the entire ConVal community I extend my deepest sympathy to Brandon’s family and friends,” Principal Brian Pickering said. “We are all shocked and deeply saddened by his passing and we are incredibly grateful for his service to our country.”

“The entire state of New Hampshire is devastated by the tragic loss of Lance Cpl. Brandon Garabrant, who was bravely serving his nation in Afghanistan,” New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan said in a statement.

“Our service men and women courageously sacrifice every day to protect their fellow citizens and defend the enduring value of freedom that is our very core, and in doing so, Lance Cpl. Garabrant made the ultimate sacrifice.”

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