U.S. Army Pfc. Michael DeMarsico of North Adams left for his first tour of duty in February and was set to return in December.
Friday morning, his parents learned that their son was killed in action when a military officer notified them that their son had been killed in Afghanistan by an IED.
Michael is a graduate of Drury High School in North Adams, where Friday flags were dropped to half-staff in honor of the 20-year-old.
“Michael was tragically killed in Afghanistan doing what he loved,” said Michael’s Aunt Laurie Douglas.
Michael's aunts and uncle spoke Friday on behalf of his immediate family.
“No parents, aunt, sister, cousin, sister, brother, should ever go through this,” Douglas said, crying. “We need to bring them home all of them.”
The family said they stayed in touch with Michael through email and Facebook.
Michael's dad spoke with him on the phone just two days ago.
“Michael told his parents he accepted a position on the front lines going ahead of his troops to protect them,” Douglas said.
Michael had four siblings: two older sisters, Aubrey and Kailey, a younger brother, Adam, and a little sister, Leah.
"She is a strong little girl trying to be tough for her family,” Douglas said.
Michael's family is devastated, finding comfort only in that Michael died doing what he loved.
Douglas said, “Since Michael was a little boy, Michael has wanted to be in the Army.”
His passion for serving our country is not only proven through the words of his loved ones, but through his Facebook page: countless pictures posted with his own words, “For all the reasons. We do what we do."
Michael's death has had an impact on everyone in the small community.
“Everybody knows everybody, he will be sorely missed,” said North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright.
Even the kids around the city are remembering Michael and thanking his family for their sacrifice.
“I am just trying to pay my respects and I hope his family does well,” said Michael Robinson.
Robinson's friend, Ethan Heller added, “I have a lot of respect and my prayers go out to his family.”
Another friend, Tyler Deschaine, said, “There’s a hero in the town now."
The last soldier from North Adams who was killed in action was Peter Wellesley Foote who died in 1968 while fighting in Vietnam.
Mayor Alcombright has ordered flags at half-staff until all of the ceremonies for Michael are through.