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Fallen soldier's family: 'He had a great life; he loved every moment'

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MILLINGTON, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Fallen Staff Sergeant Stephen New was welcomed home for the last time. It was an emotional homecoming as New's family and friends gathered to show support and pay tribute to the fallen soldier.

The sound of footsteps was about the only thing you could hear as the body of the 29-year-old staff sergeant was unloaded from a private jet, carried by a stream of American flags, and loaded onto an awaiting hearse.

"It's not quite sunk in, but I love him and miss him," said New's sister, Rachel Schleb.

New, a Bartlett resident, was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 20th special forces group out of Jackson, Mississippi. He was fatally shot on July 28 during an attack on his unit in Kabul Province, Afghanistan.

"He thought about the risks but didn't dwell on them ... and I didn't either," said Schleb. "He knew what he wanted to do and nobody would stop him."

In 2011, New was selected to become a Special Forces Medic.

Sgt. First Class Randal McKee, one of the officers who trained New, describes him as "remarkable".

"He had an unbelievable future ahead of him," said Sgt. First Class McKee. "He would've no doubt been a group sergeant major someday."

Family members say New was a man who loved God, his family, his country, and he lived life to the fullest.

"He had a great life. He loved every moment, took every opportunity that was given to him and went for it no matter what it was," said Schleb.

Staff Sergeant Stephen New's funeral will be held Saturday at 2 p.m. at Faith Baptist Church on North Germantown Road in Bartlett.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that people donate to a few of the charities that were dear to New's heart: Green Beret Foundation and Ukrainian Gypsy Orphan Project.

To learn more about the Green Beret Foundation, click here: http://greenberetfoundation.org 

Donations made in New's memory to the Ukrainian Gypsy Orphan Project can be send to Eads Baptist Church, 2960 Jefferson Road, Arlington, TN 38802.

Donations can also be made to missionaries Brandon and Michelle Burch. Learn more about their mission by clicking here: http://www.michelleburch.blogspot.com

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