Sergeant Daniel Metcalfe was always smiling, like in pictures he took with his wife Vesna, and their children. His family says the father of four was always smiling, and had a playful nature, "always smiling and always pulling pranks on people just like my grandfather," said Dan's cousin, Shellie Sutton.
His family says the 11 years Dan spent in the military changed him for the better, "the army made him a man," said Sutton. Dan's third cousin, and best friend, Justin Beleal added, "he came back with this strong sense of discipline, and bigger shoulders, and just this whole presence about him."
Dan comes from a military family who says he is the 2,000th soldier killed in Afghanistan. They say 2,000 is another drop in the bucket, compared to other wars, but this time it's different, "because it's our drop," said Sutton, "makes it even worse."
The family is still shocked over the news of Dan's death, but they find comfort in knowing he died doing what he loved, "he loved his job, he loved the people, he was happy every picture you see when he was fighting he was smiling," said Sutton.
As Patriot Guard Riders Dan's father and aunt have escorted dozens of soldiers on their final homecoming. Their motto is, "Standing for those, who stood for us." It'll be tough standing for Dan, "it's very hard, to do this," said Dan's aunt Bobbie Metcalfe,"and it's very hard when it hits home."
Dan's family says they're proud of him for selflessly serving our country, "he made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and asked for nothing in return," said Beleal, "and I have such an unbelieveable amount of respect for that, I can't even put words to it."
Dan's wife and three of his four children still live in Italy. They will arrive in Rochester Tuesday night.
A public memorial service will be held on Thursday October 4th. It will be held at the Murphy Funeral Home, 1040 State Highway 31, Macedon, New York, 14502.
Another memorial service will be held at Arlington National Cemetery before Dan's wife returns to Italy with his ashes.