"I'm more proud of him than he'll ever know"

Published: Jul. 17, 2017 at 9:54 PM AKDT
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19-year old Private First Class Hansen Kirkpatrick was more than a soldier. He was a husband, a son, a brother and to those who knew him well, one of the best people you've ever met.

Kirkpatrick was killed on July 3rd as a result of indirect fire, while conducting an operation against the Taliban in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan.

According to William Newnham, Hansen Kirkpatrick's father, the loss of his son has only just started to set in.

"It's the memories that go, over and over again," said Newnham. "You lose that person over and over again. The longer you've known them, the more you loved them, the more it's going to hurt, because you're losing the pieces as you go."

From a young age, Newnham says his son was smart, funny and the kind of guy who give you the shirt off his back. A kid who was old beyond his years, one his father says for as short as his life was, it was lived to its fullest.

"I'm more proud of him than he'll ever know," said Newham. "He was probably one of the best people I ever knew, he had life figured out at his young age better than I do now."

Kirkpatrick enlisted in the Army after graduating from Service High School. A decision he made to follow in his fathers footsteps. Newnham sayd Newnham served overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan for 10 years starting in 2006. Newnham says his son told him he hoped to make him as proud as he was of his father.

"He wanted to be just like me," Newnham said. "So he signed it up and went over. And he loved it. He genuinely liked being a soldier."

To honor Kirkpatrick's memory, his family has started a

. Although some of the money raised will go to help cover the extra costs of Hansen's memorial expenses, the majority will go towards starting a foundation or charity in Hansen's name.

"We're dreaming big, we're dreaming really big," said Newnham. "We want something national that will succeed all of us so my great great grandchildren will know his name."