Travis Morgado finished up his education at the University of Washington and did something his family wasn't expecting.
With a degree in civil engineering in hand, he signed up for the U.S. Army. After officer training, he requested an assignment in infantry.
"I wanted him to be in the Army corps of engineers, but he wanted this," his mother Andrea Kessler said outside her Edmonds home on Friday.
"I think it goes to the core of who Travis was. He was very empathetic. He was very giving," said Morgado’s step-father Dean Kessler.
Morgado's family says he realized after college that he'd had a very fortunate life growing up in Edmonds, so he decided to give something back by serving his country.
"He had a degree in civil engineering," said Morgado’s younger brother Carlos. "He could have done anything but he chose to fight for his country."
And he paid the ultimate price this week.
The Army has released few details. On Wednesday, two soldiers showed up at the Kessler's Edmonds home to report that 2nd LT. Travis Morgado was killed by an explosive device. His family says the Army has not provided many details. Published reports say Morgado was killed when a member of the platoon he commanded stepped on the explosive device.
"It will be the beginning of a new sequence of Memorial Days for us," said Dean Kessler. "We will never have another Memorial Day like we used to. I just hope everybody remembers Travis and everybody else who has served on this weekend."
Morgado deployed to Afghanistan with his unit in December. It was his first overseas deployment. He entered the Army in November 2010 and was commissioned in May 2011.
A JBLM release said Morgado's "awards and decorations include National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Ribbon, NATO Medal, Parachutist Badge, and Ranger Tab."
On Monday -- Memorial Day -- family and friends are invited to gather at the family home in Edmonds at 2 .m. Lt. Morgado will be buried in San Jose, Calif., where his father lives.