Family and friends said goodbye to a Michiana hero on Saturday.
Tech Sergeant Dale Mathews was one of four men who died during a training mission in England earlier this month. He was supposed to finish his tour of duty in March.
The Indiana Patriot Guard escorted his body from the Indianapolis airport to South Bend.
His funeral was held 11 a.m. at New Prairie High School. Family and friends began visiting at 9 a.m.
"I know Dale would not call himself a hero, as most veterans, but i do," said Pastor J.L. Moore, who presided over the service, "We know that God has a record and surely in the wall of fame in heaven there is a place for Dale Mathews..."
"...he never held back, he lived life to its fullest, he was always trying to learn something new. He did his best to make his dreams come true. He was a great father," said his son, Keelan Mathews.
Mathews' body will return to Virginia next week for a graveside service at Arlington National Cemetery on February 5th.
Among the crowd for Mathews' funeral were Senator Joe Donnelly and Congresswoman Jackie Walorski.
"Everybody in the U.S. Air Force knew somebody special came across their way when he came into the service," said Sen. Donnelly.
Read Mathews’ obituary here.