He was known as the one who could lighten the mood in any situation. While he fought bravely for our country, he was also an honorable son, a brother and a friend to many.

Michael W. Hosey was only 27 years old when his life was taken in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan on Sept. 17, 2011. The Army Staff Sergeant was taking part in Operation Enduring Freedom. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

Hosey was on his fourth deployment when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire. Although his life was taken 11 years ago, Hosey's legacy has lived on through his family and his community.

His father, whom he was named after, said his son had special qualities as a child and throughout adolescence. He was smart and caught onto things quickly. However, he also maintained a positive attitude in life and had a sense of humor, even in hard times.

"He was a typical kid, really," explained Michael Hosey, Sr. "He was smart as a whip. He loved to read anything, and he loved the military."

Hosey, Sr. said when Michael was a young boy, he said he would be a lawyer one day. But after he realized his love for the military, there was no other option in his mind.

Hosey's older sister, Laurie Brookshire, said her brother was so interested in learning that he read encyclopedias as a child.

"He was just so smart," said Brookshire. "He just loved American history, and as he got older, it was languages. He just had a great love of knowledge."

Hosey, Sr., a Vietnam veteran, was not thrilled about his son going into the military but knew he was determined.

"I never dreamed after 50 years we would still be sending our kids off to war," said Hosey, Sr. "I did not want him to do it."

Despite his father's objections, Hosey knew he had a mission in life. He graduated from basic training two days after 9/11, and the family had to drive all night to get to his graduation on time because planes were grounded in the U.S. Once they got there, they were proud and knew he would do great things for freedom.

"He loved America. He loved his country," said Brookshire.

He was a quick learner, and while he was in the military, he was able to learn several different languages. His father said although he was already well trained in multiple areas, he still had dreams and ambitions.

"On this last tour, I found out he was wanting to be a medic," said Hosey, Sr. "He was so smart he could've done anything he wanted to, but then the incident happened, and that put a stop to all of that."

It had been 10 years since he joined the Army when Hosey was sent to his final deployment. Hosey, Sr. talked to his son during the deployment.

"He was always in good spirits," said Hosey, Sr.

According to his sister, being in good spirits was nothing new for Michael.

"He would always talk to anybody; he never met a stranger," said Brookshire. "If it was a real tense situation, he always knew how to make things better. But when it was serious, he knew what to do."

Then the day came. The day came when those uniformed soldiers knocked on the family's door.

"As soon as I walked to the door and looked outside, I knew exactly what it was," said Hosey, Sr.

Condi Hosey, Michael's mother, was also at home at the time of the notification. Although that moment was the worst in their lives, the Hoseys have been embraced by the community.

"We're both strong in the church," said Hosey, Sr. "And we've got some good, close friends that are there for us and stuff. They understand."

The local American Legion Post is named after Hosey. His father said when he found out the post was named after his son, he was proud and knew that Michael would have loved that. His sister said she is so proud of how the community has honored her brother.

"It just makes me so proud," Brookshire said. "I'm going to start crying because you know when complete strangers go above and beyond for things like that for him, it means the world to me and to my family. He loved his country. He loved being American no matter what."

Brookshire said the family has people reach out often to comfort the family.

"We could never say thank you enough to everybody who does things like that for him," said Brookshire. "His name is all over the place. His friends send us pictures of things that his name is on. He gave the ultimate sacrifice, so it means so much."

Hosey's awards and decorations included three Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, two Army Good Conduct Medals, the National Defense Service Medal, two Afghanistan Campaign Medals, two Iraq Campaign Medals, the Global War on Terror Service Medal, two Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbons, the Army Service Ribbon, and the NATO Medal. He was posthumously awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star Medal.

The American Legion SSG Michael W. Hosey Post 205 Clay-Trussville is also raising money for a bronze bust in honor of Hosey. Col. Lee Busby is supplying the bust, but the post must raise $12,000. If you would like to donate to the cause, you can send donations to 7257 Old Springville Road, Clay, AL 35126.

The Alabama Fallen Warriors Monument in Trussville's Veterans Park also features a column sponsored by the post in honor of Hosey. There will be a dedication ceremony for the monument on Sunday, Nov. 13.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email erica.thomas@1819news.com.

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.