POLK CITY, Fla. - Twenty year-old David Fenn grew up in Polk City and graduated from Auburndale High School in 2010. He served a tour of duty in Afghanistan and was training for more.
"He was the nicest person, hands down," said Johnathan Spivey, who grew up near Fenn and went to school with him.
Spivey has so many fond memories in his own backyard where he routinely met up with Fenn after school.
"He was always upbeat, happy. I don’t think I have ever seen him have a bad day. He was the one to always help you out if you needed it," he said.
Spivey kept in touch with the Marine over the years. He said he was looking forward to his old friend taking a break from training in Nevada and paying a visit home in Polk City where his family still lives.
Then the news broke on Monday that a mortar shell exploded during a training exercise, killing seven Marines.
"I was like no, it's a different David," he said. "That's not my David."
But it was.
"He made the ultimate sacrifice," said John Hill, Principal at Auburndale High School. From day one, he said Fenn had his eyes set on the school's Navy JROTC program.
He quickly became a leader.
"I told our kids today, David is our hero. He was willing, and he knew ahead of time that was a possibility when he joined up," Hill said. "First thing I’ll remember about him is his infectious smile. An outstanding young man."
Fenn's family didn't want to speak on camera today because they said they are overwhelmed with grief.
Service information is not yet final.
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