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Bruce Wilkinson
 
A quick wit and ready smile are the traits family and friends are remembering of a 2008 Lowell High School graduate who was killed Friday in Afghanistan.

Augustus "Augy" Vicari, who turned 22 in April, had been in Afghanistan three weeks, his mother, Evelyn Vicari, said Saturday morning from her home in Lowell.  He was killed Friday morning by a roadside bomb while on foot patrol, his mother said.

"He had just been shipped over there June 21. It took him awhile to get to his base. He had only been there three weeks," she said.

Vicari said her son and his wife, Holly, who also graduated from Lowell High, were living in Oklahoma. She said they moved there so his wife could be closer to her father. She said Vicari joined the Oklahoma National Guard about two years ago and completed basic training in 2009. He and Holly married Sept. 25 and would have celebrated their first anniversary this year.

"He was a really good kid, a funny guy," Evelyn Vicari said. She said her son's wife and father-in-law were returning to Northwest Indiana on Saturday. Authorities told the family it may be a week before the body is released and returned home.

Vicari said her son and his commanding officer were killed, and three others were injured. Augy was one of five children, having two older brothers and two younger sisters.

John Winstead, 27, of Lowell said Vicari was like a younger brother to him, and they became great friends the past few years. He said he was a best man at Vicari's wedding last year. "He was very outgoing, funny and a great guy to be around," he said.

Jessica Panozzo, 24, of Lowell who met Augy and Holly Vicari through friends, said she saw them often before they moved out of town. "I remember he liked to work on cars and hang out with his friends. He always had a smile on his face," she said.

U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville, released a statement saying he was deeply saddened by the news of Vicari's death.

"My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and fellow service members during this difficult time. Words cannot express the gratitude we have for Augy and all those who serve us in uniform and have sacrificed everything. We owe to them our freedom and democracy.


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