WALDWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Hundreds of Waldwick residents lined the streets Tuesday as police escorted the body of a fallen Marine back to his hometown of Waldwick, New Jersey.
1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports
A giant American flag was raised over a street in Waldwick in honor of Staff Sgt. Joseph D’Augustine, who was killed in Afghanistan on March 27 just two weeks before he was due to come home for his sister’s wedding.
“They’ve come from all over the country to pay their respects. He was our hero, our prince. He’s going to be badly missed,” said Tony D’Augustine, the Marine’s father.
“It’s so sad,” one woman told CBS 2′s Christine Sloan. “I don’t know him, but I feel like I know him.”
“We’re here to pay homage to the sergeant coming back from Afghanistan who was killed,” said another man. “It’s the least we can do.”
D’Augustine was a graduate of Waldwick High School. He was assigned to the 8th Engineer Support Battalion of the 2nd Marine Logistics Group stationed out of Camp Lejune.
“Whether you knew him or not, you’re just devastated by the loss you feel for his family,” another resident told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg. “This is what we do in Waldwick. We come together.”
WCBS 880′s Alex Silverman reports
“We’re very proud that he came from our town,” said one resident.
The 29-year-old was a specialist trained to dismantle bombs and land mines. He was on his fourth tour of duty overseas, his second in Afghanistan.
“He’s home. I feel terrible to his family. He’s with the Lord now,” said Rae Muller of Waldwick.
“He was honorable, tough, kind, but had a big heart. Compassionate, his family loved him,” D’Augustine said.
“I just want to say goodbye to my good friend Joe,” Paul Scanlon, who went to high school with D’Augustine, told WCBS 880′s Alex Silverman. “He was a mentor to anybody. He was the kind of person who you really can’t say anything negative about. I can’t think of any negative qualities about him.”
His funeral services are planned for Wednesday morning at St. Luke’s Church on Franklin Turnpike in Ho-Ho-Kus.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made in memory of D’Augustine to the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, the Wounded EOD Warrior Foundation or the Semper Fi Fund.
“I’m so proud of what Joe did,” said Christine Dummer of Waldwick.
“I know my son is in Heaven. We’re strong believers in God,” said D’Augustine.
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