United States Army officials are now saying a soldier from Sparta was killed in an attack...
Not an accident as had been thought on Friday.
Private First Class Alex Gaunky was on his way to a German hospital when his humvee was rammed by a civilian vehicle in Iraq Thursday.
When PFC Alex Gaunky graduated from Sparta High School in 2004, he joined the military, following in the footsteps of his father and three older brothers.
Two months ago he was sent to Iraq along with two of his brothers.
"I was in military service when I was their age and I found myself in my father's shoes and not liking it very much. One is enough, but three is a much bigger worry," Alex's father David Gaunky said.
When he got there he made sure he called his parents every week.
"I spoke to him a couple of days before he was injured. He called to say 'Hello mom. I love you, I'm fine,'" said Alex's mother Lori Friske.
PFC Gaunky worked as a combat engineer, a dangerous job, setting up explosives and building bridges before the infantry would come.
"That was what he wanted to do. He wanted to be an engineer," Friske said.
On Thursday he was manning the machine gun atop a humvee when a civilian vehicle rammed it.
Initially thought to be an accident, the U.S. Army said Sunday it was an attack.
"A humvee doesn't roll over if it was hit by a car. It has to be fairly substantial," Gaunky added.
His parents packed their bags for Germany after they were told of the accident, but he died before they could leave.
Since that time David and Lori have received numerous phone calls and visitors from neighbors in the area.
"That just points to how loved he was. He was such a happy guy he was infectious," Gaunky said.
In his time at Sparta high school PFC Gaunky was involved in numerous activities like choir, band and four years as the manager of the football team.
His determination is the main thing that will stand out in the minds of his parents, whether it was teaching himself to ride a bike or an entire summer devoted to learning a headstand.
"By the end of it, you had a 5 year old with washboard abs," Friske said.
When Alex passed away his parents decided to have his organs donated and so far they know of four people who have been helped as a result.
"Somewhere there's an 11-year old kid whose parents don't have to go through what we're going through now. He can be voted the best dancer in high school or fall in love with his high school sweetheart. He gave us the best in life and he's giving us better in death. He can't give us more than that," Gaunky added.