April Holt, a teacher at Gunnery Road Christian Academy, was known to hate cats. Jimmy L. Shelton never forgot it.
"One day, at Christmas time, he caught a stray cat, put it in a box and wrapped it up, leaving holes for the cat to breathe," said Holt, who got the gift. "He got a total laugh out of it."
Shelton, 21, of Lehigh Acres, Fla., was killed Dec. 3 in a mortar attack in Beiji. He was assigned to Fort Campbell and wanted to be a state trooper.
His grandmother, Bonnie Mahlbacher, said one thing that made her grandson remarkable was his respect and affection for senior citizens.
"He looked older people in the eye and loved them," she said. "He had a kind word and a hug for the older ladies at church. That''s what amazed me."
Former teacher Jane Bancroft had Shelton in her class during his senior year and still has a poster he made during her health class.
"I kept the poster he made on what to do if someone faints," she said. "He signed it Dr. Jimmy Shelton. He always had a smile and was a little mischievous."
He also is survived by his parents, Billi Jo and Burgess Shelton Sr.