FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- The family of a U.S. Marine who died while on his way to surprise his younger brother is sharing memories of the 20-year-old before his death.
Lance Corporal Brennan Ching is being remembered for his commitment to both his country and his family.
"His heart was just so big, there was just nothing he wouldn't do for anybody," Ching's mother, Sue Vicary, says.
As a mom of a Marine, she knew there was always a chance she could lose her son. But she never thought she would lose him just because he was trying to be a good big brother. "All you want to do is just hold him one more time."
The Marine was killed in a car crash on August 15th while traveling from California to Colorado. Ching was on his way home to surprise his eight-year-old brother Alex before his first day of school at Bauder Elementary School.
"He's big, and he's funny ... and he teases me," says Alex Vicary. A future Marine himself, 8-year-old Alex has had to grow up a lot in the last week. When he heard his big brother wasn't coming home, he did what any kid would do: he tore a leaf off of a tree and made a wish. "I wish Brennan could come home. 'What was the wish you made this morning?' Alex's mom asked. I wish Brennan would come back to life," Alex said.
Brennan's legacy will be his ability to make people smile. Like when he recorded his voice into the book "The Night Before Christmas." He wanted to be able to read to his brother, even if he couldn't be there in person.
His compassion, courage and commitment to both country and family make Brennan lovable even to people he's never met.
Donations can be made at any Firstbank location under the name of Brennan Ching.
A funeral service is set for Tuesday at the Faith Evangelical Church in Fort Collins at 11 a.m.