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Mother of Sgt. Schoonhoven speaks out
OTSEGO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - We heard more Tuesday night from a West Michigan mother about her son's life and death.
Sgt. Mark Schoonhoven died last month in Texas about a month after he was injured in an insurgent attack in Afghanistan.
The Plainwell native's body was flown home Monday.
The church where Schoonhoven will be remembered Thursday is decorated with American flags.
It's all in honor of a man who spent the past 7 years in the Army, going on multiple tours of duty in Afghanistan.
Deb Schoonhoven remembered her son Mark as a brave man and loving father.
"Like Mark said, that was his job, and that's what he was in the Army to do, was to protect our people, keep them safe and if that's where he had to go, that's what he had to do," Deb said.
She knew war would be dangerous, but nothing could have prepared her for the moment she heard her son was injured by an IED.
"They called on Saturday and I was out Christmas shopping," she remembered. "All the joy in Christmas was gone."
Sgt. Schoonhoven joined the Army in search of a career.
"There was nothing out there at the time, and he said, I'm going to go for it, and give it all that I can give," Deb recalled.
"I hope that everybody realizes what our soldiers do out there for us every day," she continued. "They put their life on the line for us and we just don't realize it."
After being injured in Kabul, Schoonhoven spent just over a month in a Texas hospital before passing away.
He leaves behind a wife and six children.
Visitation is being held Wednesday at Winkel Funeral Home in Otsego.
Schoonhoven's funeral is Thursday at St. Margaret's Catholic Church.
People are asked to line the route from the church to Fort Custer National Cemetery, where Sgt. Schoonhoven will be laid to rest with full military honors.