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'He was a proud server:' Baldwin County honors fallen soldier from War in Afghanistan

Georgia College's addition to the veterans memorial in downtown Milledgeville honors Staff Sergeant Alex French, who lost his life serving on September 30, 2009

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — Georgia College and State University has five veteran memorials in front of the old courthouse.

One for World War I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the recently added one for the War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War, where you can find Staff Sergeant Alex French's name.

He's the only soldier from Baldwin County to give the ultimate sacrifice for our country in 2009.

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Every Veterans Day, the French family gathers together to share his memory.

His mother Gwendolyn and wife Shanoca French say it's always filled with jokes and laughter, the way he'd want it to be.

"He wasn't quiet, he was a very likeable person. He was real funny and the type of person who could get you to do anything," Gwendolyn said.

"He was a jokester and a prankster, so anything he could do to make anybody laugh, anybody smile he was always doing that, and even in a sad moment, he could make anybody smile," Shanoca said.

He was serious when it came to his military dreams. His mother says it's as if it was God's plan for him to be a soldier.

"He grew up wanting to be in the military, he always liked uniforms, and I think it was just something that was going to happen, because that's what he was thinking," she said.

French began serving in the U.S. Navy after graduating from Baldwin County High School in 1996. He finished with the Georgia National Guard, deploying with the 48th Infantry Brigade to Afghanistan in 2009.

"They got to talking about sending him to Iraq and Afghanistan, I wasn't happy, but I never let him know it. I just told him, I stay prayed up and listen to his phone calls when he had a chance to call home," Gwendolyn French said.

"We had 4-month-old twins when he left, and that itself was difficult," Shanoca French said.

On September 30th, enemy forces attacked French's unit with an explosive device. He made the ultimate sacrifice. 10 years later, his family carries on his legacy.

"I put on my last name and wear it across my chest everyday at school. I just wear it with pride," his son, Alex, said.

"He was a proud server, that he enjoyed doing what he did," Shanoca said.

"It's a proud thing and especially being the only son I had, to know that he was doing something very positive. It made me feel like I was a part of what he was doing," Gwendolyn said.

RELATED: 'Just a way of saying thank you:' Cochran honors veterans with flags downtown

French served in the military for 13 years. He was 31-years-old when he passed. He leaves behind three children who were toddlers when he passed.

His son Alex and daughter Alexis are now 15-years-old, and the youngest, Madison, is 12.

They're considering following in their father's footsteps and pursuing military careers in the future.

Georgia College is holding a ceremony at the Veterans Memorial in front of the old courthouse starting at 9 a.m.

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