HICKORY, N.C. -- Former classmates and teachers joined family members to mourn the loss of 21-year-old Lance Cpl. Mason Vanderwork Monday evening in Hickory. The third, and final, memorial for the fallen Marine was held at St. Stephens High School, where he graduated from in 2010.
The Hickory native was buried in Eastern North Carolina, near where he and his wife of just nine months were stationed. His family wanted people in his hometown to be able to say goodbye to their hero.
His mother, Melissa Vanderwork, thanked people for attending.
"I appreciate you all being here and coming to show respect for my son. He would have loved this," said Melissa. "I was a young mother, but I did not save Mason's life. He saved my life. I love my son with all my heart."
Vanderwork's former teachers and classmates spoke at the service, which was followed by traditional military honors of the 21 gun salute and presentation of the flags.
Vanderwork was one of seven Marines killed March 18 in an explosion during a training exercise in Nevada. Eight other servicemen were injured during the blast.
The military is still investigating the explosion.