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Flags across Michigan flew at half-staff for the funeral of Brandon Stout, 23, an Army specialist in the Michigan National Guard’s 47th division.

Stout, a member of West Leonard Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, died Jan. 23 when shrapnel from an explosive device hit his vehicle in Baghdad, Iraq.

News of Stout’s death deeply affected the mid-sized congregation. “It really brought the war close to home,” said Rev. Neil Jasperse.

Stout had served as an assistant youth leader and had a vibrant relationship with God, Jasperse said. “He was outgoing, fun, and had a real zest for life. He had a sense of having a mission not just for our country but for God.”

Stout is survived by his wife, Audrey Hinken Stout, his parents, and his siblings.

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