In early December, Sgt. 1st Class James Vester was responding to a Craigslist ad for an iPad when he was shot and killed in an apparent robbery on Indianapolis' west side.
His family now carries the pain of that violent death, but they clearly don't want it to define him or them.
"Sometimes it doesn't feel like reality," said Megan Seyler, Vester's sister. "You feel like, "I can still text him," and then you realize that he's gone."
On Saturday, Vester's family held an auction to raise money for a scholarship in his name. The scholarship will go to a graduating senior at Yorktown High School, where Vester graduated.
"We're trying to raise money for years to come," said Jamie Vester, James' wife. "So not only this year we'll be funding the scholarship, but for years down the line."
Vester's family says the support they have received has helped them through the death of their brother, husband and son.
"It's easy to be sad, but it's hard to be angry with everyone's support … with everyone that's come to this tonight," said Vester's mother, Janice Vester.
"He was an amazing individual, and I just hope to honor his memory," said Vester's brother Nathan.
Sgt. Vester had 12 years of service with the Indiana National Guard.
According to his family, while police believe the motive in his shooting was robbery, the $200 he brought to pay for the iPad wasn't taken during the crime.
Two brothers, Tryon and Tyshaune Kincaid, were arrested and charged with robbery and murder in connection with Vester's death.