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Community Mourns Soldier Killed In Afghanistan

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(credit: CBS) Rachel Slavik
Rachel Slavik joined the WCCO team in October of 2010 and is thrill...
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By Rachel Slavik, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLS (WCCO) – The Inver Grove Heights community is mourning the death of a soldier killed in Afghanistan.

Spc. Joseph Kennedy, 25, was killed when enemy forces attacked his unit on Friday.

Kennedy was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat team.

When Mark Madigan heard that Kennedy, one of his former wrestlers at Simley High School, was going into the military, he knew it would be a good fit. Kennedy was known for his hard work and dedication.

“The thing I think most is the team player type, that’s why I think he would be a good military person,” said Mark Madigan, a wrestling coach for Simley High School. “He was doing what he wanted to do and that was to defend us.”

When Kennedy was sent to Afghanistan, he had the support of the entire Simley community.

“I always tell my students in school that the kids that are defending us from our school. You have to have special thanks to them,” said Madigan.

As word spreads that Kennedy lost his life, Madigan believes Monday may be a tough day at the high school.

“It’s going to affect the school, even the kids that don’t know him,” said Madigan.

This is not the first time Simley High has dealt with an alumni sacrificing for our country. In 2004, Kennedy’s teammate Kyle Anderson was severely injured from a bomb while serving in Iraq.

“I think they’re doing what they think is right, and that’s to make it safe for the rest of us in the U.S,” said Madigan.

Kennedy’s death is a reminder of the sacrifice caused by war. That’s why Madigan believes his former wrestler will be remembered as a hero.

“He was doing what he wanted to do, and that was to defend us. We’ve got to honor him with that intent,” he said.

This was Kennedy’s first combat tour. Funeral arrangements are pending.

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