Phoenix-born Navy SEAL killed one year ago remembered in new children's book

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Courtesy: Navy SEAL Foundation Courtesy: Navy SEAL Foundation

The family of a Phoenix-born Navy SEAL killed one year ago today is remembering him in a very special way.

Charles Keating died in Iraq during a firefight with ISIS. But his early years were spent running track and field for Arcadia High School.

Now, his family has published a children's book in his memory.

"It's called 'Big Hearted Charlie Runs the Mile,’" said Keating’s grandmother, Phyllis Holmes, who illustrated the book.  

It's the story of a little boy with a big heart.

"He runs to school, he runs to the park, he runs to bed," read Holmes. 

Keating’s mother Krista Keating-Joseph started the book when her son was little and struggled to keep up with the bigger kids on his track team.

"He comes in last a few times," said Holmes. With practice, young Keating started winning.

"And the idea is, don't be discouraged is you start out last,” said Holmes. “With a lot of work and a big heart you can have your dreams come true."

Keating suggested they publish it, but they never did.

After his death, his mother brought it out of storage. It still needed an ending.

"It became kind of a family thing and it was very cathartic and I was doing something instead of sitting here sad," said Keating-Joseph, who now lives in Florida.

Now, on the one-year anniversary of his death, their book is in print. 

"Every time a book sells it feels like Charlie won a race, or someone's remembering him, or someone's going to continue to remember him, because they'll read the book and hopefully they'll read it more than once or they'll give it to their grandchild, and he'll be here," said Keating-Joseph.

Its release is making this difficult date a little easier for the family. “We keep going knowing that he's done his mission, he's accomplished a lot with his short life," said Holmes.

Keating’s family didn't want the book to have a sad ending, so they left out his death. They're leaving it up to parents if they want to tell their children or not.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Lauren ReimerLauren Reimer joined the 3TV/CBS 5 family in June 2016. She is originally from Racine, WI but is no stranger to our heat.

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Lauren Reimer

She previously worked for KVOA in Tucson, covering topics that matter to Arizonans including the monsoon, wildfires and border issues. During the child migrant crisis of 2014, Reimer was one of only a handful of journalists given access to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Nogales, where hundreds of unaccompanied children were being held after crossing into the U.S. from Central America. Before that, Reimer worked at WREX in Rockford, IL. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and still visits home often. When not chasing news stories, Reimer loves to explore, enjoying everything from trying new adventurous foods to visiting state and national parks or local places of historical significance.

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