GREENVILLE, Pa. (WKBN) — The Greenville community honored a local Marine who was killed in the line of duty with a celebration of life at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Greenville Post.

“That’s the main goal, to keep his name alive,” said his dad Al Marzano.

Michael Marzano lost his life in Iraq on May 7, 2005. Friends, family and fellow troops gathered to honor his memory on Saturday, 17 years later.

“He was a funny kid. I loved him. A good athlete — he played football, wrestled, boxed,” Marzano said.

Michael’s story has touched many hearts — a father who lost his Marine son to suicide was at the celebration of life.

Shane Carey said relates to the loss of losing a child.

“That internal draw to be there and support somebody that was going through — because when I went through that, that was probably the darkest time of my life, losing my son,” Carey said.

“A Toast to Michael” was the theme of the celebration and everyone’s goal was to celebrate Michael’s memory.

Marzano said keeping his son’s memory alive means everything to him.

“I don’t want his memory to dissipate. Once that happens, then it’s over. So long as I’m alive, I’m never going to let that happen,” Marzano said.

Michael’s father has set up a scholarship fund in Michael’s name.

It helps Mercer County seniors who are athletes — just like Michael — pursue a post-secondary education. Marzano says it’s one way to make the tragic situation a little brighter.