GREEN FOREST, Ark. — At U.S. Navy SEAL Tommy Ratzlaff's family's home, a modest ribbon hangs on the front gate.
"I didn't believe it," Ratzlaff's nephew Jeff Adams said about his uncle's death.
In town, flags are at half staff.
"It's just so difficult to process this because we are so fond of him," Ratzlaff's high school science teacher, Bruce Culver said.
In the hours since his death, a flood of memories have rushed through the minds of those who knew U.S. Navy SEAL Tommy Ratzlaff.
"I got to shoot his sniper rifle," Adams said, "I'll never forget that."
"When it came to dissecting frogs, he was the best," Culver joked.
Every teacher in Green Forest had a Tommy story. And every tale ended with his character.
"He met every challenge," math teacher Ivy Miller said. "When the work was difficult, he'd work harder than any kid in the class."
By the time Tommy was in high school, he was the star, middle linebacker on the football field. Everyone that saw him play knew he was destined for big things because he gave anything he had at everything.
"You could tell military was something he wanted to do," Culver said.