The community is paying tribute to Cpl. Joshua Ashley, 23, who's described as a strong, proud Marine and a tender-hearted son.
"He could've done anything with his life. He was never in trouble. He wasn't a bad kid. He never got into any kind of trouble," said Ashley's mother, Tammie. "His thing was he wanted to serve his country and protect his country."
Ashley's family said he always worked hard and put others first.
"He was always at the top of his class. That was his goal," said Ashley's father, Jon.
Ashley, a military dog handler, was on a mission in Helmand Province last week with his K-9 partner.
"I guess Sirius, which is his K-9 dog, must have smelled something so Josh got off the path and stepped on the IED," said Tammie Ashley.
Joshua Ashley, the middle child in a family of three boys, enlisted in the Marines a year out of high school and wanted a career in law enforcement. He and his dog, Sirius, had a special bond. They trained together in Arizona before being deployed to Afghanistan in May.
"He is a wonderful dog. We are trying to adopt him. We want to adopt him. That was my son's wish," said Tammie Ashley.
Ashley's parents said their son died doing what he loves to do.
"He died a hero. He died a hero for America. He was doing what he loved," said his father. "I would want America to know he was out there so America could sleep safely at night."