ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Brittany Gordon graduated from St. Petersburg High School in 2006. Six years later, she still has an impact.
Jumesha Brooks and Brittany went to school there together. Now, Brooks is on staff. Every turn reminds her of her dear friend, killed in action Saturday in Afghanistan.
"She motivated me so much. She was like my big sister. It's so hard. It's so hard," Brooks said, tears rolling down her face.
The girls played basketball and were also managers for the boys' basketball team under coach Chris Blackwell.
Near tears himself, Blackwell said Gordon was "A really, really good person. Someone you would want to model your daughter by."
St. Petersburg's assistant police chief, Cedric Gordon, is her proud father. He and Brittany's mother are in Dover, Delaware where their daughter's remains are headed.
Chief Chuck Harmon released a statement on the department's behalf, saying "This loss is devastating. Her life of service to her country stands as testament to the type of person she was."
Blackwell couldn't agree more. "She was a leader a true motivator," he said.
At St. Pete High, the flag flies at half-staff. A sign reads: Rest in peace Brittany Gordon, our SPHS hero. You will be missed.
According to the Department of Defense, Brittany is one of only 22 women killed in hostile fire in the Afghanistan area since Operation Enduring Freedom began 11 years ago.
She leaves her family to endure a life without their cherished girl, who just a few days ago turned 24, and was planning to come home in December.
"It gives me great honor to come before you and say that she was truly, truly a great person," said Blackwell.
The Department of Defense has not released details surrounding Gordon's death.