After fighting for our freedom overseas, Keith Harrup chased it for himself along the highway up until his final journey over the weekend.
It's tough for Harrup's mother, Shelley Hutson, and grandmother, Jo Ann Rieves, to grasp their new reality.
As they look through photos of Harrup from over the years, they think back to fond memories filled with love.
"He was larger than life," Hutson said. "He lived every moment in the moment."
They say Harrup was known for his spirit above all else. He would do whatever he could to make someone else smile.
"He made everyone feel special," Rieves said. "Like you were the center of attention."
For six years, the dedicated patriot served in the U.S. Army. He fought in Afghanistan and Iraq before being honorably discharged. He earned numerous decorations and medals for his service to the country.
"His service in the Army, his love for our country and his love for the flag. What was there not to be proud of," Rieves said. "Everything he did made you proud."
"He was a born soldier," Hutson said. "He said if he didn't have a family, that he would go back."
But being a dad came first for Harrup. He adored his three children and spent every second he could with them.
"He was an outstanding father," Hutson said. "He wanted to be with his children 24/7. He loved them more than anything."
Hutson said her son was always thinking of others. When she was diagnosed with colon cancer last year, Harrup started growing his hair out in case she needed a wig.
"He was very special," Hutson said. "He was my first baby, he was my first love. He was my friend, he was my protector."
While their hearts are aching, they will carry on since the tough road ahead is one they won't travel alone.
"Everything is going to be hard. You know, how we go on, only God's going to get us through it," Rieves said.
Funeral services for Keith Harrup will be held on Wednesday at 10 a.m. at First Baptist Church in Teague. The family expects hundreds of people to attend.
Interment will follow the services at Woodland Cemetery near Kirvin with an honor guard provided by the U. S. Army.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to the veteran’s support group online.
Copyright 2018 KXXV. All rights reserved.