CHICOPEE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The services for Master Sgt. Luis Deleon-Figueroa are set for next Monday and Tuesday and the community is coming together to remember the fallen Chicopee soldier killed in action last week in Afghanistan.
On Monday, a motorcycle escort is preparing to escort the body of Deleon-Figueroa from Westover Airport to the Curran-Jones Funeral Home in West Springfield.
After arriving around 9 a.m. Monday, the body will be transported along a procession route of: Sheridan Street, to Church Street, to Front Street, to Center Street, to Plainfield Street, over the North End Bridge, into West Springfield and to the Curran-Jones Funeral Home on Main Street in West Springfield.
On Tuesday, there will be a funeral procession from the funeral home to the Bethany Assembly of God Church in Agawam, ending with a burial in the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Agawam.
The communities of Chicopee, West Springfield, and Agawam are asking people to line the streets on both days with flags to show support and remembrance. Flags are available in the lobbies of those three police departments.
Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker has ordered flags be lowered to half-staff on Tuesday, the day of the burial, but at Chicopee High School, principal Carol Kruser lowered the flag today in honor of Deleon-Figueroa.
Though none of her current students ever attended classes with the fallen soldier, Kruser said Deleon-Figueroa will still serve as a role model for years to come.
"It's a sense of sadness and a sense of pride," Kruser said.
Now principal, Kruser started as an educator at Chicopee High School, the same year Deleon-Figueroa arrived as a freshman.
"He did struggle academically, but he was also known as a really good athlete," Kruser said.
Kruser said the 31-year-old master sergeant, who died in action last week, would still come back and give talks at the school when he was on leave, showing the students that role models come from all walks of life.
"Even though high school might have not been the easiest time for him, he was able to take those connections and move on and really succeed, so I think it's really important for students to see that there's a lot of different ways to have a successful life," Kruser explained.
Kruser saidm remembering the soldier was how they began 'Back to School' week.
"We're trying to tell the kids he was one of ours, he was a Pacer. We always tell the kids once you're Chicopee Pacer, you're always a Pacer," Kruser noted.
Ron Sassarone, ride captain for the Mass. Patriot Guard, added, "He died doing what he wanted to do and it's an honorable thing."
The Massachusetts Patriot Guard is also honoring the Chicopee soldier, father, and friend with a full-flag escort next week.
Sassarone couldn't help but acknowledge the sadness of services for someone so young.
"We do a lot of funerals and they're all sad, but when someone so young loses their life to protect freedom, that really hits home," Sassarone added.
They'll ride both days of the services and want his family and community to know that Master Sgt. Luis Deleon-Figueroa will never be forgotten.
"The master sergeant was a hero. He gave his life for freedom and sometimes, we don't respect that as much as we should, I mean, we here in the United States. You know we can do what we want to do, we can go where we want to go, and that's what we're fighting for," Sassarone noted.
Western Mass News coverage will continue as the soldier's body is flown to Westover Airport on Monday and brought to his final resting place in Agawam on Tuesday.