A New Bedford Marine is making his final journey home on Tuesday, as friends and family prepare for his burial this weekend.

Sgt. Samuel Demers, 25, unexpectedly passed away on June 20 due to health-related reasons. Demers had served as a U.S. Marine for several years and was with Weapons Co., 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms in southern California.

Previously, Demers had been deployed to Romania and Japan and Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq in 2019. He was awarded the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal, Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terror Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with two Bronze Stars, and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.

Demers grew up playing baseball in New Bedford's South End Youth Athletic Association. He was a 2015 graduate of Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational-Technical High School, where he ran track.

Shortly after graduating from Voc-Tech, Demers enlisted in the Marine Corps, serving seven years as a rifleman, squad Leader and platoon sergeant.

He leaves behind a loving wife and young daughter.

His obituary paints a picture of his personality and his relationships with the people in his life:

Sam was a loving father to his daughter, who was born during his 2016 deployment, and a dedicated husband. He fiercely loved his girls and was a giant teddy bear kind of guy. Sam always had a broad smile and laugh; he instantly made you feel like a friend. You were truly blessed to have the opportunity to know him. He will be remembered as a kind, goofy, warm-hearted, loving husband, father, son, and friend.

Demers' cousin, Crystal Marques, says the family was in shock to hear of the tragic death. While they are devastated, the family says it means a lot that the Marine Corps and several police departments, including New Bedford's, will provide escorts for the services.

A funeral is set for Friday, July 15.  Visiting hours will be from 8 a.m. to noon, followed by a service in the Saunders-Dwyer Home for Funerals in New Bedford.

On Tuesday afternoon, Demers will be escorted home from Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport via I-195 East to Route 140 South, down Kempton Street to Rockdale Avenue and the Parker Street funeral home.

The procession was scheduled to arrive in New Bedford around 2 p.m.

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