Lance Cpl. Shawn Patrick Hefner was described as the kind of man who had a deep desire to serve his country.
On Friday, Nov. 13, the 22-year-old Marine gave the ultimate sacrifice when he was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.
“He was on foot patrol and stepped on an improvised explosive device, and was killed instantly,” his uncle, Henry Hefner, said.
The family was notified about his death Friday afternoon.
Hefner’s father Patrick said his wife Robin was at home Friday working on a scrapbook for their son when military personnel showed up at the family’s home in Hico to tell them the news.
“She knew something bad had happened when she saw them,” Patrick said. “She called and told me to get home.”
Patrick was working in Meridian, but raced home hoping the news was anything other than what he feared.
Patrick said his son decided he wanted to become a Marine when he was eight years old.
“He was dead set on becoming a Marine,” Patrick said. “I was a Marine (from 1977-1988) and he wanted to follow in my footsteps.”
Hefner grew up in Hico and was a 2006 graduate of Hico High School. He has an older brother Brandon and younger sister Jessica.
Hico ISD Superintendent Rod Townsend said he remembers Hefner as a quiet kid with a good heart.
“The thing I remember most about Shawn is that when he came back from boot camp, I saw him at a restaurant and he came up and shook my hand,” Townsend said. “I knew then that he was really growing up. I think he was led to serve his country and he had found his spot.”
Hefner’s body is scheduled to arrive in Waco at 11 a.m. Thursday. A military motorcade will escort his body home and is expected to be back in Hico shortly after noon.
The community plans to line the streets of Hico when the motorcade arrives. Townsend said students in third-12th grades will participate in the homecoming and that the National Honor Society will put out about 200 American flags along the route leading into Hico.
“When something like this happens, it really brings home the price that so many young men and women have paid,” Townsend said.
A full military funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at the First Baptist Church in Hico. Internment will follow at Hico Cemetery.
Hefner enlisted in the Marines in late 2007 and began serving in 2008. He was scheduled to return to the states in a couple of weeks and was expected to be at home on leave before Christmas.
Patrick said he takes comfort in knowing that his son died doing something he loved.
“He wanted to serve his country and that’s what he did,” Patrick said.