The parents of a U.S. Marine Corps corporal who died in the suicide bombing in Kabul have spoken publicly for the first time since the tragedy.
Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, California, was among the 13 U.S. service members caught in the explosion near the Kabul airport on Aug. 26 that also took the lives of about 170 Afghan citizens.
Lopez’s parents are both members of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. His father, Herman, is a captain, and his mother, Alicia, serves as deputy sheriff.
“Our family is overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and condolences we’ve received in the wake of Hunter’s sudden passing,” the Lopez family said in public comments issued Monday afternoon. “We want to send out a huge thank you to everyone who has donated to the Riverside County Deputy Sheriff Relief Foundation in the name of Hunter and the family, prayed, or reached out to us during one of the most challenging times in our lives.”
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The family spoke of Hunter Lopez’s great pride in his service, and they are amazed by the impact he had on his community: Some have sent flowers, while others have posted messages online for the family and for Hunter Lopez himself.
“So many people told us that they couldn’t find the right words to express their sympathy,” the family added. “We, likewise, realized that there were no words to express our deep level of appreciation adequately. We have only two words for everyone: Thank You.”
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Hunter Lopez served as part of an expeditionary force, and he planned on becoming a deputy himself after returning from his deployment, according to FOX Los Angeles.
“Like his parents who serve our community, being a Marine to Hunter wasn’t a job; it was a calling,” the Riverside Sheriff’s Association said in a statement. “He loved his family, and as we grieve for Hunter and his fellow Marines taken from us too soon, there are simply no words to express how deeply he will be missed – Semper Fi.”
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The Indio City Council on Monday paid tribute to Hunter Lopez and invited the public to pay their respects at a memorial to the fallen Marine, Desert Sun reported. The memorial displays a photo of Hunter Lopez alongside yellow roses in the shade of a large Afghan pine tree on the west side of City Hall.