"He changed anyone and everyone's life around him in Spring Valley. He did so much and just probably wasn't even aware of it," Sarah Friberg remembered.
Friends and community members remember Cpl. Michael C. Nolen after he was recently killed during combat operations in Afghanistan.
There's no doubt Mike Nolen will be missed.
"I don't know if anyone really disliked him. He wasn't fake. He was someone who was who he was and you got what you got with him, but it worked for everyone," Friberg said.
Sarah Friberg will never forget her good friend Cpl. Michael Nolen.
"He could mesh anywhere. He could be with anyone. He could hang out with anyone," she said.
It seems no one else who knew him will forget either.
"He would come back here when he was home on leave. He’d come in in uniform to visit with his teachers, visit with his friends who were still here," High School Principal at Spring Valley High School Gretchen Cipriano said.
In this tight-knit community, people say they're thankful for his service.
"It's just obviously a tragedy whenever you lose anybody in a small town," Matt Huepfel of Spring Valley said.
Cpl. Nolen died Monday in Afghanistan where he was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
"He had always said he wanted to do something and he wanted to make a difference for people and I guess that was the way he felt he could do it best," Friberg said.
Friends say he was proud of his decision to be a marine and serve our country.
"He definitely changed lives around here. He changed lives around people he met and did the ultimate sacrifice," she added.
Mike Nolen graduated from Spring Valley High School in 2007.
He is the third Wisconsin member of the military to die this month in Afghanistan.
NEWS RELEASE -- The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Cpl. Michael C. Nolen, 22, of Spring Valley, Wis., died June 27 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
GOVERNOR WALKER'S STATEMENT:
Madison – Governor Walker issued the following statement today on the death of Cpl. Michael Nolen of Spring Valley.
"Wisconsin is extraordinarily grateful for the service and sacrifice of Cpl. Michael Nolen. As our nation heads into a holiday weekend, Cpl. Nolen's death is a reminder of the men and women who put their lives on the line for us, who won't be with their friends and family. We are honored by the service of those in uniform, particularly those who have made the ultimate sacrifice."