Community welcomes home fallen Whitewright soldier

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WHITEWRIGHT, TX -- Hundreds of people turned out Thursday to welcome home fallen Whitewright soldier Pfc. Christian Jake Chandler.

A hero comes home, and his community shows honor, respect, and support for the fallen soldier and his family.

"He's a hometown hero. He deserves everything he got today," said Bells City council member Kemal Tongate.

20-year-old Private First Class Christian Jake Chandler of Whitewright was killed in action April 28th when his unit came under fire in Afghanistan. Chandler was brought home Thursday. His body arrived at NTRA-Perrin Field just after 11 a.m.

"Tears were flowing," said Becki Rathfon. She says Jake was a family friend, and she wanted to pay her respects, "It could be anybody, and knowing he's from this community really hits home."

The North Texas Patriot Guard Riders and an honor guard attachment from Fort Hood escorted Chandler and his family to Mullican-Little Funeral Home in Bells.

"Most of our riders, our Patriot Guard riders, are veterans, so it touches each of us," said Deputy State Captain of the North Texas Patriot Guard, Ken DuBois.

Texoma residents lined the procession route which went by Sherman High School, through Whitewright, and ended in Bells where the city lined the route with flags.

Tongate says he didn't know Chandler, but shared words for him and his family.

"Thank you for your son, and thank you for all you've contributed to the country," said Tongate.

Chandler joined the army in October 2012 and was deployed to Afghanistan a year later.

"Those that serve us, those that protect our country and protect us, there's always a danger. You never know what each one goes through," said captain of the Bells American Legion and veteran John Legion.

Chandler's funeral is set for Saturday at 2 p.m. in Bells.