CANYON, Texas - With the War in Iraq officially over, we are reminded more than ever of the soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice since the War Against Terrorism started. Canyon native Airman Darren Tate is one of them.
Loved ones describe Tate as a person you cannot help but be drawn to.
"Big heart, giving person and the biggest smile in the whole world. His smile would light up the whole room," his mother, Barbara Tate, said.
Tate joined the Navy in 2006 and was embedded in Afghanistan shortly after.
Initially, there were no plans for Airman Tate to deploy to Afghanistan but, after learning a fellow airman had two very sick kids and a baby on the way, Tate stepped up to take his spot.
His former teacher, Victoria Morris, described him as having a magnetic personality. It was something taken away 21 years too soon when pneumonia claimed his life. Tate passed away in July of 2009, just two months before he was scheduled to return home. Two years later, Tate still touches the people he crossed paths with.
"All he ever wanted to do was put a smile on someone's face," his mother said. " That was the goal every day of his life."