Sgt. Justin Rogers: A hometown hero (with photos)

By Erika Mahoney

July 12, 2013 Updated Jul 12, 2013 at 12:06 AM EDT

Town of Tioga, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The loss of Sgt. Justin Rogers was sudden and unexpected.

The 25-year-old died June 28 at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. He died in a non-combat related incident that is still being investigated, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

On Thursday evening, his loving and close-knit community came together to honor his life.

Motorcycles and American flags lined the entrance. outside Tioga Central Middle School.

Inside, the sound of  "Amazing Grace" played on a harmonica brought many to tears.

The love between Rogers -- who was affectionately known by teammates, classmates and coaches as "Jutt" -- and his community is mutual.

"It is said it takes a village to raise a child," said Josh Roe, Rogers' high school wrestling coach, "Jutt had loving parents, 'Stosh' and Teresa. He had loving fans, all of Tioga Central School. And all of his friends and family that were surrounded by him."

Rogers is the father of a little girl named Nateli, a husband, son, friend and a teammate. Friends and family said he touched many lives in his community, from the time he came into the world.    

He was born in Sayre, Pa., in 1988.

"The man excelled in every field he went after," said cousin Adam Rogers.

Rogers graduated from Tioga Central High School in 2007, where he thrived in football and wrestling.

"Jutt was just a shortened nickname that you heard yelled while he was wrestling and on the football field. And it always stuck. He was Jutt to everyone," said Roe.

Though some may not know his name, his nickname or his history, he touched the lives of strangers everyday, as a member of the U.S. Army.

He served for five years, most recently in Afghanistan as a horizontal construction engineer. 

"As determined as he was, he was also just as kind and giving, and very humble," said Adam Rogers. "We didn't even know half of the medals he earned in the Army until after all this happened."

Forever making his family, neighbors and his nation proud, Sgt. Justin Roberts lives on in the hearts of his community.

Justin is survived by his parents Stanley "Stosh" and Teresa Vicki, of Barton; his wife Stefanie (Ramsey) Rogers, his daughter Nateli, and siblings Amber Rogers and Ryan Vicki.

Memories can be shared at the Sutfin Funeral Chapel website by clicking here.

Memorial contributions can be made to The Justin Rogers Athletic Sports Scholarship, c/o Tioga Central School, PO Box 241, Tioga Center, NY 13845 in loving memory of Sgt. Justin Richard Rogers.

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