ROSEVILLE (CBS13) — Fans filled the stands Friday night for high school football, but in one stadium, the applause resonated with a deeper meaning for a true hometown hero lost in the final days of the war in Afghanistan.

It’s an image seared into minds amid deep sorrow. A young Marine sergeant holding and protecting a tiny life in Afghanistan.

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In this Aug. 20, 2021, image provided by the U.S. Marine Corps, Marines assigned to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), including Sgt. Nicole Gee calms an infant during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. Officials said Aug. 28, that Gee of Sacramento, Calif., was one of the Marines killed in Thursday’s bombing at the airport. (Sgt. Isaiah Campbell/U.S. Marine Corps)

Nicole Gee would lose her life doing her job and serving her country.

On Friday night, friends, family and strangers at her old high school—Oakmont in Roseville—put sports aside to salute her sacrifice.

Players wore reminders of what it means to be a true hero in the field of battle.

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“We had some helmet stickers made for our players,” one school official said. “We have a scholarship that was created by our Oakmont teachers for military students going into the military.”

This latest gesture added to the other displays of gratitude like some chalk art showing the lasting image that captured Nicole’s caring touch.

“We just wanted to have an overall tribute from our community to show her family and friends that we care and we appreciate her service,” a school official said.

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A service that ended as it began—with total dedication and willingness to pay the ultimate price. Earlier this week, Gee was awarded the Purple Heart.