Mourning Panhandle - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Mourning Panhandle

Ryan Cody

NewsChannel 10

Panhandle, TX - A Panhandle soldier who lost his life in Iraq is now back home tonight. When the body of Sergeant Esau Gonzalez arrived back in the town of Panhandle today. It was clear he has touched so many lives long before giving his own.

People from all over the area were part of a procession taking Sergeant Gonzalez's body from a runway in Amarillo to the center of town in Panhandle.

"It says a lot about the way people thought of Esau. But it also says a lot about the people in this area. About how loyal they are," says Greg Slover the Principal at Panhandle High School.

Carissa Davis was a classmate of Gonzalez's from kindergarten until graduating from Panhandle High School.

"Shocked, it was the first classmate of ours to go and it was just really shocking to hear someone you've known all your life to go."

Davis says the tragedy is only compounded by what was certain to be a bright future. "He was voted the most talented and most friendly of our class for several years in a row."

He was loved by many in the community, which anyone in attendance today would say is more like a family. "We are very close. Once your here, your family, always have been," former classmate of Esau's, Bonnie Bird said.

United States Army officials say they are still investigating how the life of Sergeant Gonzalez was cut short. He was 30 years old.

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