Los Altos resident Marine 1st Lt. Todd Lorell was due to be deployed to Afghanistan this month.
When he was involved in a fatal traffic collision in Joshua Tree, Calif. Aug. 1, he was brought home with the dignified escort that all Marines receive.
After graduating from Bellarmine Preparatory, he went to the University of Southern California, where his circle grew. Friends who had planned a going-away party gathered instead to say goodbye, and reflected on a young man who was only 24, but by his example, had the respect of others.
"I was fortunate to have known Todd both as a classmate/member of the Bellarmine football team in high school, and also on USC's rugby team," wrote Brennan Barker.
"Todd was an exceptionally gifted athlete, and his dedication—to improving himself, to supporting his friends and teammates, and to serving his country—was an inspiration to everyone he touched.
"I knew him as one of those quiet workhorses who never took anything for granted, who always strove to better himself and those around him through leading by example. Todd was as a fighter who worked hard for his many accomplishments, and he was a man who earned every accolade he received, and deserved so much more.
"I knew him as a classmate and a teammate, and I'm so proud to have known him."
On Aug. 7, from Southern California, a Marine escort traveled from Twentynine Palms with Lt. Lorell's remains, where he was met at San Jose Mineta Airport by the Santa Clara County Sheriff's deputies, San Jose Police, and members of the Patriot Guard, a volunteer veterans motorcycle group. All escorted Lt. Lorell and his family members, creating traffic breaks on Interstate 280, for his arrival to the funeral home of Alta Mesa Cemetery. .