"Man you wouldn't believe what an awesome kid he was growing up," said Dan Wassom Sr. "We knew he was always special."
Dan Wassom II did grow up to be special. He was an airman with the Arkansas Air National Guard who served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
His dad described him as an "excellent father" who would do "anything he could do" for his five and seven-year-old daughters.
Sunday he proved that true along with his wife shielding their daughters as their home on aspen creek drive was ripped to shreds.
Everyone survived except for Dan.
His father Dan sr. says it was a final selfless act in a lifetime full of them.
"We're sure going to miss him man," said Dan sr. "He was such a good, good young man."
We've learned that service runs deep in the Parkwood meadows community.
Jennifer Champion is an Army National Guard. She and her kids rode the tornado out in a neighbor's storm shelter.
When she emerged to find people injured, her training kicked in.
"Knew to get the collection point and the triage and we were looking for things we could use as turnikits and backboards," said Champion.
Sadly, she couldn't save her neighbor 22-year-old Jeff Hunter.
He's from an Air Force famiy. He died when his home was flattened.
"He was just sweet," said Champion, adding that he was always willing to lend a helping hand.
That legacy lives on as neighbors, friends, family and comrades work board by board to move forward for each other and their community.
Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.