Family, Friends Prepare For Fallen Soldier’s Final Homecoming

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A community is preparing for the final return of Army Specialist Justin Helton, of Beaver, who was killed last week in Afghanistan.

The family learned Thursday that his body will be flown into Rickenbacker on Saturday.

Yellow ribbons and American flags line the streets for miles for this soldier's final homecoming.

10TV spoke with Helton's girlfriend and her best friends on Friday, as they put together picture boards with years of loving memories of Helton.

"He was just everything to me. He was my forever," said girlfriend, Lauren Kelley.

Lauren Kelley lost her love, Justin Helton, to friendly fire in Afghanistan.

She says she learned of his death early last Tuesday morning, when his mother called with the tragic news.

Soon after, her best friends rushed to her side.

"It was just heartbreaking, I couldn't believe it," said Kelley's friend, Brianna Bolt. "The amount of courage that it takes to go to Afghanistan, to do what he did blows my mind, and he would never show any fear."

"He did that because that's what he needed to do. That's what he wanted to do. He had such a passion for it," said Kelley's friend, MacKenzi Logan.

His mother tells 10TV Helton was a 'hero.'  A man who was outgoing, who loved life, and took pride in serving his country.

"He could light up a room, he was always trying to make people laugh," said Kelley.

Helton never had the chance to propose to his girlfriend. His mother told 10TV he said he would be doing that when he got home, but that day never came.

"It was good to know, but it hurt at the same time cause I can't have that now," said Kelley.

What she does have, is memories in the form of pictures. 

"It gives me something to look back on and I can remember everything," said Kelley.

Hundreds of pictures, highlighting those times in the past, before an uncertain future that she knows will come.

"Very nervous. It doesn't feel real yet and I'm afraid for when it will," said Kelley.

Helton is expected to be flown into Rickenbacker on Saturday at noon, with a motorcycle escort ending in his hometown of Beaver.

Helton's funeral is set for Monday.