Crowds were steady after doors opened to the Preston Hanley Funeral Home. Visitation services for Army Sgt. Dean Shaffer, 23, took place from 2 to 5 p.m Sunday.
One by one, people made their way to pay tribute to the Pekin native. Members of the Patriot Guard stood silently, with flags raised.
"Rain doesn't matter. What they do for us, it doesn't matter to them if it's raining or if it's not. If it's snowing, they're over there fighting for our freedoms. So the least we can do is stand up for them," said Jeff Miller, with the Patriot Guard.
The family asked media not to come in.
But people say it was crowded inside as well. Robert Jones did not know Shaffer, but came to pay his respect. He says the atmosphere wasn't what he expected.
"The family's not really crying a lot. They seem, there's a lot of laughter. Apparently Mr. Shaffer was a fun guy to be around. A lot of happy memories. And so it's a different scene than what you might expect," said Jones.
Those who knew Shaffer say the visitation is another chapter in the healing process.
"We're seeing a lot of the family, getting together a lot of friends getting together and reminisce about Dean," said Steve Byars, a family friend.
But not everyone, including Byar's wife, Barb, could hold back the tears.
"Dean was a very good friend of our daughter and a very well loved young man. And touched by us," she said.
Funeral services for Shaffer will be held Monday at 10 a.m. at Preston-Hanley Funeral Home. A procession will take Shaffer's body to prairie haven cemetery tomorrow after the funeral. He'll be buried with full military rites.