TATUM, TX (KLTV) - For the family of Alex Granado, losing him is unbearable.
"I always hear about soldiers losing there life over there," said Johnny Cruz, Alex's nephew. "It was my uncle yesterday. We're real proud of him. He was one of the bravest men I knew."
Alex served more than 20 years in the Army. He a solider and his brother a marine. Alex was in the Special Forces Airborne Unit.
"I still remember when he came back from Desert Storm," said Johnny. "We threw a big, big party for him here in Tatum. I always looked up to him...you have to look up to somebody like that."
"He knew the dangers of going over there every time but I don't think he would have had any other way," said Amanda Granado, the Alex's daughter.
It was just last month, when Alex came home, and the family was all together.
"The last time he was here was on the 4th [of July] and he was just talking about how he was ready to go back," said Johnny.
"My mama asked him every time he came, 'When you going to retire?' and he said, 'Mom I can't retire,'" said Alex's daughter. "He loved it that much."
"He made me promise him that I was going to take care of myself the last time I talked to him," said Alex's sister, Dionicia Cruz. "And, I promised and I said, 'Promise me you're going to take care of yourself.' He said, 'I promise you we'll sit at this table again and eat again together.'"
That togetherness and love is what is keeping the family going.
"Whenever he hugged me - Ohh, he used to hug me so hard - he always used to tell me, 'I love you, you know, I love you,'" said Dionicia.
With home love like this it's hard to imagine why Alex wanted to be in the army.
"...because he loved it," said Dionicia. "He loved to be in the Army. He wanted everybody to go to the Army. He loved what he did. Oh, he wasn't afraid!"
He was a brave soldier who, in high school, was a talented track runner. At Tatum, he set records. He won a bronze medal at the state track meet.
"He took pride in everything he did no matter what it was," said Amanda Granado. "[He was] strong, brave [and a] great dad. I'm just trying to be strong because I know my dad would tell me to."
"Family is one thing you're always going to have," said Cruz. "He's gone but he's still with us."
"He was a wonderful, wonderful brother," said Dionicia. "We're going to miss him a lot."