Family grieves loss of fallen Northstate soldier

Red Bluff family shares memories of soldier killed in Afghanistan

RED BLUFF, Calif. - The family of a fallen Red Bluff soldier took some time to speak about the life of their loved one, Nicholas Burley, 22.

He was killed on Tuesday in Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom.

Burley's family shed tears, while discussing their tragic loss.

"Some kids don't come back, most do. Some don't and my son was one that didn't," said Burley's mother, Tammy Olmstead. "For any mother to lose their son, it is the worst. It is the absolute worst. There's nothing more that could ever hurt me as bad."

Burley was killed by indirect enemy fire and his body was returned to the United States on Thursday.

Service was in his blood -- his brother, Michael Collins, a firefighter himself.

Nicholas graduated from the fire academy but he chose to enlist in the army.

His fellow soldiers recognized that dedication, sending their condolences and letters to those close to Burley.

"It was a very honorable letter," said Collins. "He always wanted to be at the head of the pack. He always wanted to be in the lead."

"He took his job seriously over there," said Dan Olmstead, Nicholas' stepfather. "He was proud of what he was doing. He did a fabulous job."

Tammy Olmstead agreed, adding, "He did everything he could but he wanted to just come home. He wanted to do his duties until it was done and then he wanted to come home."

His family took the time to recognize the pride Nicholas Burley put into his military service.

"Everybody over there's a hero," Collins said. "They're over there fighting for us and they're over there making sure that we can have the liberties and the freedom that we have here. Nick did it proudly."

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