- Associated Press - Thursday, August 14, 2014

SHALIMAR, Fla. (AP) - The former high school football teammates of a soldier killed in Afghanistan are remembering the Florida Panhandle native as a talented athlete who was willing to die for his country.

The Department of Defense said Sgt. 1st Class Samuel C. Hairston died Tuesday in Ghazni of injuries sustained when his unit encountered enemy small-arms fire. He was based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Hairston grew up in Shalimar and graduated from Choctawhatchee High School in 1997.

One of his former teammates tells the Northwest Florida Daily News (https://bit.ly/1AihTvb ) that he once thanked Hairston for his military service. Daniel Jonke says Hairston replied that he would “give it all” so that others could enjoy freedom.

Other teammates remembered Hairston as intense but kind-hearted. Hairston also played at the University of Houston.

___

Information from: Northwest Florida Daily News (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.), https://www.nwfdailynews.com


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