By: Kayla Bremer
Hundreds applauded as the aunt of Master Sergeant Linda Tarango–Griess accepted the Paul Harris Fellowship Award for her niece who was killed in Iraq in 2004.
Linda was recognized for her patriotism, service and sacrifice to her country in a late celebration of Veteran's Day.
"She (Linda) loved it," her friend Rosario Perez said. "She loved everything there was to be about being in the military."
Linda was deployed to Iraq in 2003 as a platoon sergeant in the 267th Ordnance Company.
On July 11, 2004, she and fellow Nebraska soldier Jeremy Fischer were killed when a roadside bomb detonated near their convoy vehicle.
"She was very confident, she just was sure that everything would go fine and if it didn't then she was okay with that too because if she left this world serving her country then she was doing it proudly," her aunt Maria Medrano-Nehls said.
"When we sign, that's what we're signing for, you know, to give up our lives for our country," Perez added.
The 33–year–old was awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, the National Guard's Legion of Merit and was promoted to the rank of Master Sergeant after her death.
Her former Platoon Leader, Major Leslie Durr says she loved being in the military and wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
"She's very deserving and she put everything she had into being a soldier and she's very deserving of being honored today," Major Durr said.