Published: Mar 21, 2013 9:31 PM EDT
Updated: Mar 21, 2013 11:00 PM EDT

NAPLES, Fla - Hundreds turned out to pay their respects and their final goodbyes to Staff Sgt. Marc Scialdo.

The Naples man was killed last week in a Black Hawk helicopter crash in Afghanistan. Thursday, the 31-year-old's body returned home to the Naples Airport.

Family, law enforcement and members of the military lead a procession from the airport to Bonita Springs where friends, family and strangers gathered for a visitation at Saint Leo's Catholic Church.

"I just can't fathom losing a child of my own or a grandchild of my own," says family friend Gigi Cannone. "This is just another life lost that shouldn't be."

"As parents we can understand a little of their hurt, but God forbid may we never understand the loss of a child through a war," says family friend Margaret Aiello.

Charlie Babb's daughters grew up with Marc and his sisters. Thinking back on Marc as a kid he says, "he was just always bouncing around and causing trouble and just being a kid."

Sgt. Scialdo enlisted after 911 and was on his second tour of duty. "It was what he loved to do, and he knew the danger he was in, but it was the love for what he did and the courage and bravery for his country and his family," says best friend Anthony Valvano.

Thursday, that bravery was honored. Valvano looking back on their days together, knowing his friend, a husband, son, brother and hero, will never be forgotten.

"I know we've all talked in detail when we raise our kids making sure he's still such a part of it," says Valvano.

Friday, the procession will leave Skikany's Bonita Funeral Home at 9:30 a.m. And travel south on U.S. 41 to St. John The Evangelist Catholic Church for the 10 a.m. Service.

After the funeral, the Honor Guard and the procession will travel to Sgt. Scialdo's final resting spot at Palm Royale Cemetery on Vanderbilt Beach Road.

A fundraiser is underway to carry on the legacy of Sgt. Scialdo. Family and friends have created the fund to help empower children in Southwest Florida pursue their dreams. All funds raised will help support the work of individuals, community programs and educational opportunities that help improve upon the life of a child, teen or young adult, with a preference towards the children of veterans or youth involved in service to their country or community. For more information on the fund go to