James Farmer Jr. was asleep in his car in downtown Denver on June 16 when he woke up to a homeless man attacking the two teens. He stepped in to protect them. Police say the suspect, 28-year-old DeJuan Stamps, then turned his attention away from the teenagers and beat Farmer to death.
Farmer was living out of his car at the time so he could find work and send money to his grandchildren and family in Seattle. His plan was to move back in September to buy a home with his fiancée.
His family remembers him as a hardworking man and beloved father figure. In addition to his fiancée and five granddaughters, he left behind a son and several siblings, nieces and nephews.
His time in the service, his family says, never left him.
“He took a oath when he joined the United States Army and promised never to leave a man behind … He heard someone in need and risked his life to save (the) lives of those teenagers,” they told CNN affiliate KDVR.