Hazel Crest holds memorial in honor of fallen soldier Henry Mayfield Jr.

A heartwarming show of support was organized Tuesday night for a local army specialist killed while serving last week. 

The south suburban town of Hazel Crest is now coming together, putting yellow ribbons around trees in his honor. The town dubbed today Henry Mayfield Jr. Day, and says they are proud to call the young man one of their own.

Last week, the 23-year-old army specialist was killed when militants attacked his base in Kenya.

Mayfield grew up in Hazel Crest, a 2014 graduate of Hillcrest High School before enlisting.

“Any time you lose your young life it affects the community, no matter where you are,” said Jeanette Booker, Hazel Crest veteran. “Because think of the opportunities he never got to experience.”

Residents of Hazel Crest and surrounding communities, along with scores of military veterans tied yellow ribbons on trees and utility poles all over town.

“We’re going to put these in the front of my house and two other homes as well,” said Orie Perry, Vietnam veteran. “And I’m glad to be here. So proud of the young man.”

On the street where Mayfield Jr. grew up and his family still lives, there are ribbons on every single tree.

“We just came out to show the family support,” said Ladeishia Willis. “It’s such a devastating loss to the community, to the family, to the military.”

Mayfield’s body is expected to arrive in the next couple of days, and the Hazel Crest mayor says residents will line the route for Mayfield Jr.’s final trip home.

“We’re going to meet the remains at O’Hare and bring them back out here to the village of Hazel Crest,” said Mayor Vernard Alsberry Jr. “We’ll go past his high school, come down the arterial streets and end it here.”