Family and friends will remember and honor the Fernley soldier who lost his life last week, during a ceremony in Fernley next Thursday.
The memorial will take place on May 31st at 3 p.m. at the Veteran's Cemetary in Fernley.
Army Pfc. Alejandro Varela, 19, was killed on Friday May 11th when a makeshift bomb exploded near the vehicle he was riding in. Five others were also killed in the explosion, when it happened south of Baghdad.
His father said Alejandro, known as Alex, was eager to come home.
"I'm not ready for this. I thought I was, but I'm not," a tearful Roger Varela said while talking with reporters last Monday at Fernley City Hall.
"It's hard to lose a son. He was my baby."
His girlfriend, Alexandria Avant, a private in the Nevada Army National Guard, said Varela wanted to serve three years and then leave the military, but he had no regrets about enlisting.
"He wanted to come home," Avant said.
Varela lived in Fernley the past seven years. His mother and other family members live in the Sacramento, Calif., area.
Before joining the Army, Alejandro Varela helped his father out in construction work in the Fernley area.
"He wanted to come back home and go back to work for me," Roger Varela said.
"I'm not going to get any calls from him. I'm not going to be able to touch him anymore."
Friends say he loved exploring the Nevada desert on all-terrain vehicles, and shooting trap and skeet.
"He always liked those rides to Winnemucca Lake," about halfway between Fernley and Gerlach, said his buddy, James Palmer said.
Palmer said riding quads will be the best way to remember Varela.
"We'll get all of his friends together," Palmer said. "We'll gas up the quads, and we'll head out into the desert. That's what he'd want us to do."