Waverly-Shell Rock remembers fallen soldier - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waverly-Shell Rock remembers fallen soldier

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WAVERLY (KWWL) -

An eastern Iowa soldier has been killed while serving in Afghanistan. Family reportedly got the call last night that 20-year-old Don Nichols of Shell Rock had been killed while serving with the 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry which is based out of Waterloo.

Those who knew him say he had a passion for the Armed Forces well before graduating high school just two years ago. Nichols took part in basic training the summer before his senior year.

He knew he wanted to serve his country and that's exactly what he did.

The flags in front of Waverly-Shell Rock High School are flying at half staff, a quiet memorial for their fallen hero.

Jerry Adelmund, the art teacher at the high school, taught Nichols during his senior year. During that time he created a piece of art work by incorporating his initials and something he was very passionate about, serving his country.

"He was a very fun loving... A lot of time he would come in from the hall with a smirk on his face. A lot of time you didn't know what he was up to, but once he got focused on what he was working on he was a good kid. He liked to have fun. He tried to make people laugh. He was one of those kids that you enjoy having in class," said Adelmund.

Adelmund last saw Nichols when he was on leave this past fall. He had come to the school to visit some friends and a few of his former teachers.

The loss of Nichols came as shock, but for those who knew him, they know he died doing what he thought was right.

"With Don it was something he felt very strongly about. It was his senior year. He had a renewed sense of purpose and that's something he really wanted to do. You got to respect and honor that and... It's just kinda sad," said Adelmund.

The school made the announcement to students first thing Thursday morning that Nichols had been killed in combat.

Counselors are available for students and teachers who may need help coping with this loss.

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