Thirty-four-year-old Steve Reich accomplished many things in his short life, but the Blue family says above all he was a devoted husband.
Just days before Reich left for his fourth tour of duty he married Jill Blue who family members call the love of his life. They met in a park in Savannah, Georgia. They were both walking their dogs, and they both say it was love at first sight.
"It may sound like a cliché, but for both of them is was love on the spot," says Taylor Camp, Jill's brother-in-law.
Camp says their attraction to each other was obvious, because both lead such fulfilling lives. Blue has a law degree and works at the Panama City law firm Burke, Blue, Hutchison & Walters.
Reich was already a hero in his hometown of Washington, Connecticut where he led his high school baseball team to the state championships. That legacy grew when he played ball for west point military academy and Team USA. After graduation, he chose to serve his country as a special operations pilot.
The couple married in Blue Mountain, in South Walton County just days before Reich left for his fourth tour of duty in Afghanistan.
"They were looking forward to the rest of their lives. They were so excited to be with each other. They were just getting to the point of making those plans," says Camp.
But those plans were destroyed by enemy fire in the wild mountains of Eastern Afghanistan. Camp says Jill is still in shock.
"She's absolutely devastated. Both families are absolutely devastated," says Camp.
Despite that devastation the family feels the need to extend the Reich's legacy to all that love and pray for him.
"His enduring legacy is his dedication to country, family, friends and community. I think his legacy is one of leading by example," says Camp.