Spc. Kenneth Alvarez graduated from Delta High School in 2009. That year was voted by his peers to have the best smile in the class.
Lisa Adams, an adviser at the school, says she remembers Kenny well. "He was always very driven, he was excited to graduate and join the army."
In 2011 he realized that his true calling to was protect the lives of others. That's when he joined the military and became a combat engineer. In March of 2011 he was deployed to Afghanistan.
Alvarez is the fourth from Santa Maria and the 11th from Santa Barbara County to lose his life during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
Delta High School is planning a special memorial in his name.
A memorial service will be held in Santa Maria. Alvarez is survived by his wife and child.