SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Hundreds of mourners came together inside and outside St. Mark's Cathedral in Shreveport Saturday for the memorial service for Chief Petty Officer Robert Reeves. He was one of 30 Americans killed when the Taliban shot down their helicopter.
"While we are overcome with grief from Rob's tragic loss, we'll never forget the love he had for his family, his friends, the United States Navy, and his Navy SEAL brothers," says Cmdr. Bill Mahoney with the Navy SEALS.Cmdr. Mahoney read an excerpt from a statement the Reeves' family released.
"Nothing made Rob happier than to serve with the best because that's what Rob gave his family, his friends, and everyone's lives that he has ever touched."
In an exclusive interview earlier in the week, his father Jim Reeves, shared more about his son. He says he decided that he wanted to be a Navy SEAL after his freshman year in college.
Jim Reeves says his son talked to his long-time friend Lt. Cmdr. Jonas Kelsall about the decision. Kelsall was also killed in the helicopter crash.
He says Rob was sick during his SEAL training and came down with pneumonia.
"Out of about 60 guys that started, there was only 25 left and he didn't want to be the quitter. But the Navy doctors pulled him out and put him in the hospital, sent him home for a couple of months. I tried to talk him out of being a SEAL. I said why don't you go out on the boats. He says 'I'm going to be a SEAL or I'm going to die trying.'"
Soldiers, family, and friends filed into the church to honor him. And hundreds more lined Fairfield Avenue to support the family of the man who made the ultimate sacrifice.
"This is a demonstration of love and respect for that family, and I would say thank you for their service to our country," says Mike Martindale with the Patriot Guard riders.
About 200 bikers from the group roared onto the street in front of the church before the service began.
"...All this to honor the fallen hero, and to me, he's a hero. They all are. Anybody that is killed over there is a fallen hero," shares Karen Bock.
She says she wouldn't have been any other place.
"My grandson was over there, luckily he came back. But if he didn't, I'm sure all these would be there to honor him."
Mike Martindale had one parting message for the Reeves family.
"It may be difficult to see now, but God can take everything and use it for His glory. What is intended for evil, God can use for good."
The family says this week has been the toughest they've ever had to endure, but that they appreciate everyone's support. They respectfully ask that everyone honors their privacy so they can find strength to grieve.
The family of Lt. Cmdr. Jonas Kelsall, the other Navy SEAL from Shreveport killed in the helicopter crash, was at Saturday's memorial. A Navy Public Affairs Officer tells us they are planning a celebration of his life for next weekend.