THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WALB) - Each month, WALB and Montlick and Associates take time to recognize the military “Heroes Among Us.”
November 12, 2020 marked 10 years since a soldier from Thomasville died in Afghanistan.
Spc. Shannon Chihuahua, a combat medic in the U.S. Army, was killed while saving the life of a fellow soldier, who was hurt.
This month, his wife and two daughters remembered his sacrifice.
While away from his family, Chihuahua recorded as many moments as he could.
“He said he was a model for the Army,” his wife Kristen recalled, while looking at photos he took while he was deployed.
The 25-year-old deployed to Afghanistan in 2010.
At the time, he and his wife Kristen had a toddler, Sophia.
Kristen was also eight months pregnant with their second daughter.
“He chose to leave, so that he could be there for his guys in case that they got injured or anything, he wanted to be there,” she explained. “It was just the type of person that he was.”
Two weeks after Annabelle was born, Chihuahua went home on leave and met his newborn for the first time.
They captured their first few moments as a family of four on camera.
“He stayed for two weeks on R&R (rest and recuperation), and then he went back.”
A few months later, in November 2010, life as Kristen and her daughters knew it, changed.
“Sophia was running around, you know.” Kristen explained. “I was like, ‘what are you doing baby?’ She goes, ‘I’m playing with Daddy.’ And I was like, ‘okay, you’re so silly.’”
Hours later, she heard a knock on the door.
“As a military wife, you just know when you see the two uniforms standing at the door,” she said. “They told me that, on behalf of a grateful nation, they regretted to inform me that Shannon had been had given his life for his country that day.”
Kristen said this news gave her some clarity about what had happened with Sophia earlier.
“We are Christian, so we know that this this earthly body is temporary,” Kristen said. “Once I was told that he was killed, that made total sense to me that the first place he would go after leaving his body would be to see his daughters.”
This month, Chihuahua’s Army buddies traveled to his hometown of Tallahassee.
It has been 10 years since Chihuahua, or “Doc” as they called him, was killed in action while helping his fellow soldiers.
“I think it shows his personality and who he was as a person that it meant that much to his friends to travel from all over the country to come and honor him,” she said.
They paid their respects, they prayed around his grave, and they remembered his sacrifices.
“They told the girls that they were all that he talked about and that he was so proud of his daughters,” Kristen said.
Now, Sophia is 13, and Annabelle is 10.
When asked if she is proud of her dad, Sophia quoted the Bible.
“I’m very proud,” she said. John 15:13 says, ‘greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
Spc. Chihuahua’s wife and daughters still feel those twinges of grief, all these years later.
“We would bring him back if we could, you know, but we’re still here and we still have a purpose,” Kristen explained. “We just can honor him by pursuing that and just trying to bring some happiness and joy in in goodness into the world.”
To make that happen, they have plenty of memories and pictures captured by this loyal husband, father and soldier who gave his life for our country.
Spc. Chihuahua’s family received the Silver Star on his behalf in 2014.
The Silver Star is the third highest U.S. military decoration for valor.
If you know a special military hero you want to nominate, click here.