Savanna High School grad killed in Afghanistan remembered

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SAVANNA, Ill. (KWQC) – One of the men killed in an attack at a military ammunition supply point in Afghanistan has ties to the Quad Cities.

40-year-old Mike Sauro from McAlester, Oklahoma died Thursday from injuries received from hostile enemy forces in Kabul. The civilian was working in support of operation Freedom’s Sentinel. He was also a 1995 graduate of Savanna High School.

Former classmates said learning of his loss seemed unreal.

“A lot of it is shock,” said Peter King, who graduated a year after Sauro. “Definitely a lot of sadness.”

Former classmates and co-workers remember Sauro as someone who lived for others.

“You know, one of the most genuine guys, a guy that truly was willing to do anything, and I know you hear that often in these situations but this was a guy that was always up-beat,” recalled fellow ’95 graduate Dustin Hayden. “Member of a couple of different sports teams with Mike, and he was always the life of it, you know. He was the energy when we didn’t have energy.”
Hayden said he and other classmates most recently connected with Sauro last year for their 20th class reunion.

“A guy that came and had a great time,” he said. “And I know many of us are very thankful that we were able to get that to work out like we did.”

Those classmates and others are remembering Sauro for his lively spirit, and fierce dedication.

“He was very committed to his job,” King said. “He was very committed to the U.S. service member, making sure that they had what they needed to do their job.”

King said Sauro never shied away from helping others.

“Whether it be sports, or his friends, or his family, he always went at it 100 percent,” King said.

It is a sentiment shared by his former co-workers from Sauro’s days with KWQC’s Highlight Zone.

“You knew he was going to make a difference in people’s lives you know we saw that when he was an intern just the way he treated people and he valued people,” said former KWQC sports anchor Dan Pearson.

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