Local family mourns the loss of son this Memorial Day - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Local family mourns the loss of son this Memorial Day

CHESTERLAND, OH (WOIO) -

Americans saying thank-you to the men and women serving our country today but one local family is mourning the loss of a young soldier, killed in the line of duty.

Chief Warrant Officer Chris Thibodeau had been preparing his whole life to be a pilot in the military.

Nothing could prepare his family and friends for what they're going through now but before his deployment he talked to his mother about the possibility of never coming home.

Thibodeau, 28, was profoundly persistent and deeply patriotic.

"He always wanted to be a pilot and no one was going to stop him from doing that," said Bob Thibodeau. "He had stick-to-it-tiveness. He fought to get into flight school, he fought to get the apache and he fought to get Leesandra."

 He died on Thursday when his helicopter crashed during combat in Afghanistan.

"He made me promise that if anything happened I would remain calm, I wouldn't get mad because if he died doing it, he died happy," said Doreen Thibodeau.

Saturday his body was returned to the U.S. in a dignified transfer.

And in the street in Chesterland where his parents live, it's lined with American flags and messages of thanks.

A newlywed, Thibodeau was finally able to take his honeymoon during a recent leave. And shortly after, his wife Leesandra found out she was pregnant.

"So we'll have his child. I want him too but at least I got her and a little baby, little piece of him," said Doreen Thibodeau.

Friends describe him as a smart ambitious man, who'd do anything for family, friends and country.

"Not many us end up doing exactly what we've wanted to do since we were 10 years old and he did," said Mike Mendlovic. "He did what he loved, he lived his dream, he just didn't live it long enough."

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