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Teen honors dad killed in Afghanistan with senior ‘angel picture’

AURORA, Neb. (CNN NEWSOURCE) – A Nebraska teen used her senior photos to pay special tribute her father after his death during active duty in Afghanistan.

“He was one of the oldest to go through ranger school,” Julia Yllescas said. 

Yllescas has realized her father won’t be there for big events in her life, such as getting married and having kids.

But for senior pictures, this Aurora student wanted to make sure he was.

“It almost felt when I saw those pictures that he truly was there,” Yllescas said. 

On Saturday, Yllescas had her senior pictures taken and sent in pictures to a photographer to see if she could create an “angel picture.”

“Like I said, to have a piece of him with me throughout my senior year. Because sometimes it feels like where are you? Why did you have to leave?” Yllescas said.

The teen’s dad died in Afghanistan in 2008 after he ran over an improvised explosive device.

He was able to make it to the hospital in Texas, but died about a month later.

Being an active-duty military wife herself, photographer Susanne Beckmann said she was honored to take the photos.

“I was teary-eyed when I was editing them. All I could think in my head is I don’t ever want to have to do this for my own kids,” Beckmann said.

Yllescas said she will carry the photos with her forever and although her father is not there physically, these pictures go to show he is still always right by her side.

“Just to have that on my wall and be like, ‘No he is with me, even though I can’t physically see him,’” Yllescas said.

The angel photos have already been shared on Facebook more than 13,000 times.