Joseph Peters, 24, is one of three soldiers who were killed Sunday when their unit came across an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.
Peters lived in Corpus Christi until 1995, when he moved to Missouri. His uncle, David Bettiga, still lives here, and spoke to 3News about his nephew, the man that he was, and also how the government shutdown has prevented his family from receiving death benefits.
"A very fine young man," Bettiga said. "Full of energy. Loved his country, and what he did. Very good at it."
His nephew was just two weeks from coming home.
Peters, a U.S. Army Special Agent, is survived by a wife and 20-month old son who now line in Springfield, Mo. Because of the government shutdown, his family did not receive death benefits that are usually issued to the family of fallen military personnel within three days of notification of death.
"These people gave the ultimate sacrifice, and when our government stepped down, it took a private organization to step in," Bettiga said.
That private organization, the Fisher House Foundation, is helping families of fallen troops cover the costs of travel and funeral expenses. The Pentagon now plans to reimburse the charity when the shutdown ends.
"The government owes all these families and the entire country an apology, right now," Bettiga said.
Funeral arrangements for Peters are pending.
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