(FOX40.COM) — Kelly and Michael Barnes say they’ve had a hard time just keeping track of what day it was since they received the devastating news that their 34-year-old son, Chief Warrant Officer Shane Barnes, died on Friday, along with four other special operations soldiers from Fort Campbell.
“The grief and the pain go so deep that we have to let it come back to shock and denial in order to get out of bed,” Shane’s mother Kelly Barnes said.
Their Blackhawk helicopter crashed into the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Cypress following a mishap during a routine air refueling training mission.
But through the grief and heartbreak comes the love and pride they have for their son.
“He… He was the full package. The two things that Shane, my son was laser focused on were his job and his family,” said his father Michael Barnes.
His wife, Sammy, was also a Blackhawk helicopter pilot. Together, they had two daughters, Millie and Katie.
Shane and Sammy initially met in college. But years later, they ended up at flight school together where they fell in love.
Knowing a deployment could happen at a moment’s notice, he always found time for his family.
“He adored Samantha. Adored her,” Kate added.
He’s that dad, who spent hours on YouTube, so he could learn to braid his daughter Millie’s hair.
Millie proudly brought her “Hero-Dad” to school for show and tell.
Shane’s mother Kate continued, “And Amelia, if you ask her about family, she says, ‘My daddy’s a hero and he’s protecting America.’”
Even at such a tender age, Katie also shared a special relationship with her dad.
“Katherine our youngest, will take anything and put it up against her face and say, ‘Hi Daddy,’” Michael said.
His parents say Shane attained so much in his life.
Despite not wanting to get out of bed in the morning and procrastinating when it came to doing homework, he graduated cum laude from Jesuit High School in Sacramento.
And even though you only need one, Shane received two congressional nominations to attend the United States Military Academy.
But he accepted an invitation to attend Gonzaga, where he was offered a full-ride scholarship because he wanted to enjoy the full college experience.
No matter where Shane was stationed in the world, he was always close at heart with Josh, his younger brother, and best friend since they were kids.
“Shane had bunk beds in his room, because every non-school night, he and his brother would sleep in the bunk beds together,” Kate said.
They were also best man at each other’s weddings.
She continued, “We are incredibly blessed by the love that we’re being shown, that we have always been shown. But the love that we’re being shown right now.”
“Especially the Jesuit high school community,” added Michael.
Kelly and Michael say they’re grateful for the outpouring of love and support from family and friends.
The legacy Shane hoped for, was defending his family and keeping evil out of our country. His family now hopes that Shane’s life, will, in turn, inspire others.
“In the incredible tragedy of Shane’s life being cut short, if his story of who he was and what he valued … Son and brother… If that story can encourage someone else….”
“That’s why we’re sharing his story.”