Lenoir City, Loudon County (WVLT) - Two days after Christmas, one East Tennessee family received the horrible news their son was killed in Iraq.
Twenty-four-year-old, Marine Lance Corporal William Craig Koprince, Junior died while on foot patrol in the Al-Anbar region when a roadside bomb exploded.
Whitney Daniel has more from a special service honoring Koprince as family and friends said goodbye.
Music, prayers and tears filled First Baptist Church in Lenoir City as a community -- an extended family -- remembered the man who died so they can live free. Through prayer and music, Billy Koprince's family uses their faith to stand strong.
"He may be missed on this Earth, but those of you that believe in Jesus Christ, we have that faith we have that hope, that we will see him again," Koprince said.
They use Billy's life as a reminder that every day is a gift from God.
From riding bikes as kids, to white water rafting this past summer, that's exactly what Billy's sister Morgan is doing.
"That memory and so many other memories we have together will help to share the great legacy that you will leave in the world," Morgan Moore said.
Billy's father asked all retired and active servicemen and women to stand as the crowd thanked them for their service and thanked Billy for his sacrifice. His calling was to serve as a Marine, but he will never be forgotten as a brother.
"If I was ever scared, I knew you would take care of me," Moore said.
"His smile will not disappear from the hearts of friends and extended family members," the pastor said.
"There is no greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends," Koprince said.
Koprince is a 2001 graduate of Lenoir City High School. He planned to go to college after his time with the Marine Corp. The family says the last time they heard from Billy was in a Christmas Eve e-mail.
Graveside services are Friday at eleven at Kingston Memorial Gardens.
He will be buried beside his grandfather Morgan Wickman, a World War II veteran.