By Kathleen Berger
KSDK -- He died serving his country. On Monday night, a local Marine is being remembered for his sacrifice and his service in a unique way.
The gymnasium of Oakville Senior High School is filled with an outpouring of support as family, friends, and an entire community pay their respects to 22-year-old Marine Corporal Donald Marler.
Marler once played basketball in the gym. He graduated from Oakville Senior High in May 2006. And on this night, Marines who Marler served with at different points during his military service have travelled the distance to attend the visitation and funeral.
Corporal Marler was killed in a vehicle accident while conducting combat operations in Afghanistan eight days ago. He had only been in Afghanistan since April. Before that, Corporal Marler was one of the few chosen for security detail at Camp David, where he served both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama. Marler's family even tells the story about how Corporal Marler was thrilled to have once played basketball with President Obama. But the family said Marler did not feel like his career would be complete without a combat tour.
In December, Marler requested a change in assignment, leaving for Afghanistan two months ago. His old roommate at Camp David, Marine Sgt. Joe Solberg, said this is the first funeral of a fellow marine he's ever attended.
"There is not a lot of us that work together there, so the ones we do work together, we are very close to. That's what makes it so hard for me and other marines to my left, that we were all very close to him. You know, a very close knit group," said Sgt. Joe Solberg.
Corporal Marler and his family are now close to the hearts of many members in the South County Community. Just driving to the visitation, many stores and businesses posted signs in memory of the fallen marine. The funeral is Tuesday at St. Francis of Assisi at 10 a.m.