Friend rembers soldier killed in Afghanistan

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PHOENIX -- One teenager was funny and friend to all.  The other was into computers, a self-described nerd.  It was a friendship meant for a lifetime until it was cut short by a bomb in Afghanistan.

Kevin Tyers dug up his 2004 Greenway High School year book when he learned the heart breaking news.  His close high school friend, Mike Elm was killed October 14th on the border of Afghanistan.

“I just always assumed that when he got back at some point or got out of the military, we would be able to pick it up like we did when he came back to Phoenix,” said Tyers.  “Looking back on that is definitely the hardest part of this whole thing.”

They were roommates before Kevin married and the pair last connected in a phone call about two years ago.  He said you never expect friendships to end before they have had a chance to mature.

“It's a good reminder,” he said.  “We only have a finite amount of time in this world and it's important to strive toward what our mark on world should be.”

Kevin said Elm was the guy everybody liked because he made you laugh.

“He was known for outrageous outfits and using humor to great effect,” said Tyers.

But it was his ability to speak his mind, and say something that might not be popular, that Kevin remembers.  He said it gave him courage.

“His guiding principle always seemed to be affecting change for positive things,” he said.

Kevin doesn't know, but suspects that is why Elm joined the Army after leaving college.  It was a chance to put his convictions into action.
“All he wanted to do was make the world a better place,” Tyers said.  “So, now I feel it is my responsibility to do that for him, to continue to affect the world on his behalf.  Cause that's just all he wanted.  He just wanted people to be happy.”

The Elm family prefers to grieve privately at this point.  A private memorial service will be held in Mesa this weekend.