SWAINSBORO, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The pain in the town of Swainsboro, Georgia is visible.
Every storefront in town is decorated with red, white and blue ribbon to honor not just a hero, but their hero: Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright.
Laid to rest, after an ambush in Niger killed him and three other U.S. soldiers.
"When I learned it was one of ours, one of our babies that I taught, that I work with here in Swainsboro High School, it really touched my heart,” said Cherie Hooks.
Wright graduated from a Toombs County, Ga. school, but spent his earlier years in Swainsboro.
“Dustin was the cutest little, freckled face blue-eyed, chubby cheeks all American kid,” remembers Hooks.
His former teacher, Hooks, says Wright’s family is leaning on each other and now the community for support.
"They are just excited that people want to honor Dustin," says Hooks.
His former school honored him last Friday with a balloon release and moment of silence.
One where many will pray they never have to etch another name into a wall of fallen heroes.