SALEM, N.H. (AP) – Bright and hardworking like his immigrant parents, Edmond Lo’s future grew even more promising when he was offered a full scholarship to a prominent engineering school. But he turned it down, choosing instead to disarm bombs for the Army.

It was a job intended to save lives, but one that cost Lo his last week in Iraq. The 23-year-old staff sergeant was six months into his second tour of duty when a roadside bomb he was working on exploded Saturday in Samarra City, his family said.

“I told him to be careful, and he said, ‘I know, I know,”‘ his mother, Rosa Lo, told the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Lo graduated from Salem High School in 2004, where he was a member of the Air Force Junior ROTC program. He was commander of the drill team, color guard and operations squadron, said Thomas Puzzo, a retired Air Force chief master sergeant who helps lead the group.

“We called him Mr. Dependable,” Puzzo told the newspaper. “Every time we needed something, he was there.

Lo was in the second half of his senior year when he started talking about enlisting, Puzzo said. He already had begun getting college acceptance letters.

Lo’s mother said she wanted her son to go to college. The Rochester Institute of Technology accepted him, offered a full three-year scholarship and kept calling, even after he had left for boot camp, she said.

“He had a very strong will,” she said. “He wanted to serve the Army.”

Gene Clark, director of veterans enrollment services at the Rochester Institute of Technology, said the offer almost certainly came from ROTC, perhaps supplemented by the school. He expressed condolences to the family.

“Those of us who are involved in working with veterans often say it’s that 1 percent who are paying the price for the other 99 percent of us to be free,” Clark said.

Lo was the youngest of six children born to parents who emigrated from Hong Kong, became U.S. citizens and started a family. The family runs a computer repair service in Salem.

Lo was assigned to the 797th Ordnance Company, 79th Ordnance Battalion based in Fort Hood, Texas.

After his first tour in Iraq, Lo visited Salem High, sharing photos and stories of Iraq. He didn’t give a lot of details, but said he found the Iraqis gracious, Puzzo recalled.

Funeral services are incomplete.

AP-ES-06-16-09 1236EDT

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