Slidell, La. - The knock on the door came at 5:15 Friday morning and Gina Guillory knew even before she answered.
"It was two Marines and a chaplain and they told me," she says. "They didn't even have to say anything because I knew."
Her son, Marine Sergeant Michael Guillory, died in Afghanistan this week. The 28-year-old veteran was on a mission, according to his mother, when the vehicle he was riding in flipped over.
"He was doing his job and the vehicle that was carrying him rolled over and rolled on him and killed him," she says. "I think one other person got hurt, but he didn't make it."
Guillory loved being a Marine and served six tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. He enlisted shortly after graduating from Pearl River High School in 2002, following the lead of his older sister, also a Marine.
Guillory thrived in the Corps. "He was in special forces, Marine recon and so there was always that possibility," says Guillory. "He always prepared me -- in fact my kids were just saying he would have said, 'What is hoopla? I'm not a hero.' But he was always a hero for us."
Guillory last came home before Thanksgiving and spent much of his free time volunteering at schools and the Boys and Girls Club. His other passion was teaching children.
"I was proud of the man he became," says Guillory. "He was just super... He just was so full of energy and so full of life and just so many people would... he just put a smile on so many people's faces."
No one smiled more than his mother and even now, she's holding on to the happy memories. "He loved Christmas and I will too. It won't be sad. I'll miss him. He'll always be in my heart."
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