Air Force Captain James Steel
Sumter, SC (WLTX) -- The Air Force and Sumter communities are mourning the loss of one of their own.
The Department of Defense says 29-year-old Captain James Steel, of Tampa, FL died April 3rd in a wreck near Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.
Steel was a member of the 77th Fighter Squadron at Shaw Air Force Base.
The news hit home for restaurant owner Joseph Parker
"Kinda shocked to hear about the tragedy over in Afghanistan," said Parker. His café sits just across the street from Shaw Air Force Base, and he feeds military members all the time.
"We get to know the guys a lot, talk to them, find out what they're doing, what kind of jobs they have," he said.
That is why finding out about the loss touched Parker, who spent time in the army himself.
"Our hearts go out to their family and also our prayers are with them and their families and we just pray for all airmen and army men that come in that God will be with them," said Parker.
He is not alone in his thoughts.
Just down the road Myles Smith lowered the flag at the Shaw Gate Pawn shop first thing in the morning to honor to loss of Captain Steel.
"It shows remorse and respect from the community of Shaw Air Force Base, and Sumter South Carolina," said Smith.
Now, as the community looks to remember the life of Captain Steel, it also hopes to send a message to those who serve as well.
"My thing is always prayer, I think God will always see us through and just let them know that the Lord will take care of it and it will get better, you know the healing and just show a lot of love toward them, let them know that we're with them," said Parker.