VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) --Army Pfc. Keith Michael Williams was killed on Thursday by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. The Visalia native was 19 years old.
Williams' name hangs on Caldwell Avenue on Visalia's Avenue of Heroes. On Friday, five months after he ordered that flag, his father told Action News about his son's service and sacrifice.
When Frank Williams returned home from work on Thursday, he heard news that changed his life forever.
"I saw these two uniformed officers get out of their car and walk over. I thought they were going into the neighbors but when they walked across the street into my yard I knew what it was," he said. "I felt that sick, sad feeling in the pit of my stomach. I knew what it was."
Williams' family came together just a day after learning he was killed when the vehicle he was in ran over an IED in Afghanistan.
"Death brings families together, and weddings bring families together, and we'll never see that wedding, but we have to grieve for our boy," said Frank Williams.
The 2013 El Diamante High School graduate enlisted in the Army shortly after high school -- as a way to eventually end up in law enforcement.
One of his two older sisters says Williams was the class clown and always made them laugh.
"It's killing me inside, to know that I won't be able to see this kid who made me laugh so hard," said Chelsea Williams.
"Then when it's my time I'll go be with him and I'll see his beautiful face, and he was such a handsome boy, too," said Debbie Tuttle, Williams' mother.
Most of all, though, his family is proud that he put everything he had into being an American soldier.
"The fact that he lost his life doing it we don't like that, and we wish we could change that, but the fact that he gave it 100 percent and I think there's worse things than dying than living your life and not doing something to make your family and country proud of you," said Frank Williams.
Friends and family members will be gathering for a candlelight vigil in Keith Williams' honor on Saturday night. It will start at 8:30 p.m. at El Diamante High School.