Fallen Virginia Beach soldier honored at NASCAR Coca-Cola 600

Posted at 10:21 PM, May 25, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-25 22:21:44-04

Virginia Beach, Va. (WTKR) - The life and legacy of Army Staff Sergeant Mark A. Stets Jr. lived on Sunday night at the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Stets, a graduate of Cox High School in Virginia Beach, was one of 43 fallen service members to have their names replace those of the drivers on the car windshields.

The recognition was part of "600 Miles of Remembrance."

Stets' father and one of his three daughters were on hand for the race.

"When they introduced the drivers, there was a soldier on the podium that read who he was driving for. They said Kyle Larson, the Target car number 42, is driving for Staff Sergeant Mark A Stets Jr. killed in action February 3, 2010," Mark Stets Sr. told NewsChannel 3's Todd Corillo.

"300,000 people, however many were there, it was packed, heard Mark’s name."

Stets Jr. was in Pakistan in 2010 when a suicide bomber ran into his convoy, blowing up the SUV.

Ever since, his parents have worked to keep his memory alive.

"To put his name out there so that other people will hear about him. That just means so much," his mother Nancy Stets commented.

"Everybody that loses their warrior wants 2 things: wants them honored and wants them remembered. Remembered by name," Mark Stets Sr. added.

The Stets want Mark's life - his dedication as a husband, father and son - to live on for many years to come.

"He had a good influence on other people and coming to realize that means even more to me," Nancy Stets said.