U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jeremie Border of Mesquite has died in combat in Afghanistan.
The Mesquite High School and McMurry University football standout is being called a hero by the people who watched him grow up.
The moment you pull up in front of Border's childhood home, you know. The flags and ribbons give it away.
This is a soldier's home.
Neighbor John Counts described Border in simple but powerful terms: "A man. A man of honor."
He and others best remember him as a boy — a football player at Mesquite High School, where they said he was a member of the 2001 state championship team which recorded a perfect 15-0 season.
Border went on to play college football for four years at McMurry University in Abilene.
Then he joined the Army, became a staff sergeant, and a Green Beret.
Border was killed Saturday in Afghanistan. His body arrived Monday at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
"To go over there — for himself, his family, the country — I don't know what else you can say about a man like that. That's top of the list," Counts said.
The flags and signs have been on display at Border's home for many months. Yellow ribbons have been tied around the trees there, too.
Neighbor Leonard Campos has taken it upon himself to make sure those symbols are treated with dignity.
"I came home one day and noticed it was on the ground, and I know what it means," he said. "I tied it back up out of respect for the soldier who was fighting for us."
Now, that soldier is gone.
"He died doing what he loved — serving his country," Campos said, choking up when thinking about what Border has done for America.
"I wish I could do something to bring him back, but I know I can't," he said. "The good Lord done this. But I know one thing: I know where he's at. He's in a better place than we are."
McMurry University released a statement saying the campus extended heartfelt prayers and condolences to Border's family.
He graduated from McMurry in 2006. In addition to playing football, he was a member of the Servant Leadership program and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He was also a Resident Assistant and was named to Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.
The school will honor Staff Sgt. Border during its Fall 2012 Convocation at 11 a.m. Tuesday.