Family of fallen Ringgold Marine meet his son, 9 years later
A Ringgold family mourned the loss of their Marine in 2007, thinking LCpl William Chambers, 20, never had the chance to have his own family, but a recent phone call changed everything.
Chambers was born and raised in Ringgold and joined the Marines right after his high school graduation.
His family has been honoring his memory after he was killed in Iraq in 2007, and now, his mother has even more of his son's legacy to be proud of.
"After a lot of the grieving and the pain had passed, you know it would have been awesome to have a piece of him back," said Chambers' mother Kathy Mabe.
A wish that came true for Mabe earlier this year.
Eight years after her son's death, Mabe got an unexpected call from his high school girlfriend.
"When we got the proof of the DNA test I was shaking and crying, I was so happy," Mabe said.
DNA results showed LCpl Will Chambers left behind a son.
News that was shared with nine-year-old Blake a day before Channel 3 was invited to tell his story.
"He is so much like Will it's just unreal," Mabe said smiling.
Two people so similar, yet total strangers.
Chambers never knew he had a son. He died when Blake was just two years old.
Now, the Mabe family hopes to make up for lost time.
"This family came to life yesterday, you know because so much pieces of us died when Will died and Blake brought it back to life," Mabe said.
New life that has created tough conversations for Blake. He is now learning who his father was and about the sacrifice he made for his country.
"Honestly every time I come to this grave I lay down on the ground and hug it, and I see a picture of him I go up to it and hug it," Blake said, "I hope he knows that I love him mainly, and I wish I could see him."
Kathy Mabe says she sees her son every day in the face a grandson she plans on spending the rest of her life getting to know.
"No matter what you have or who's there, you're always incomplete when you lose a child, especially if they don't have children, and you know, Blake's perfect," Mabe said, "He's what we need."
This Veteran's day has a new meaning for Blake, but instead of focusing on their family's heartbreak, they're focusing on the joy that comes with adding a new member to their family.
"I'm sad for Blake because he will never know Will, but he'll have part of him through us, and we'll have part of Will through him now, and we're just going to make it work with what we've got," Mabe said.
Grandma and grandson have a lot to catch up on, sharing stories and pictures about the time Blake's father spent in the Marines.
Blake says he wants to learn all he can about the man he now calls his hero.
Both families live in Ringgold, just three blocks apart, making it easy to spend time together.
"If Will would have been alive and knew Blake, he would have been there every step of the way," Mabe said, "You know I can't promise Blake that his parents would have been married but he would have always been in Blake's life. He would have been there. He's that kind of man."
Blake says after learning who his real father is he's now thinking of joining the Armed Forces one day. He says either that, or he wants to be a preacher, to bring hope into the lives of others. Blake will celebrate his 10th birthday in December.