'Exceptional' River Forest woman killed in Afghanistan attack - KMSP-TV

'Exceptional' River Forest woman killed in Afghanistan attack

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Anne Smedinghoff (Family Photo) Anne Smedinghoff (Family Photo)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

At 25 years old, Anne Smedinghoff was described as vivacious, smart and capable by Secretary of State John Kerry who called her parents to deliver the tragic news that the young diplomat was killed in Afghanistan.

"And that's all been very comforting to us. All the words and expressions from many people that we don't even know who they are. It's been terribly comforting to us now to have that," said her mother Mary Beth Smedinghoff.

Smedinghoff died Saturday when a convoy she was traveling with was struck by a bomb. Her family says she was delivering books to children in Afghanistan.

"I think it was something she wanted to do. It was her passion and she really made a difference doing it and you can't regret that at all. She really, really did a great job. She was just one of the many people who answer the call to serve our country in a myriad of ways and for that we are forever grateful," said her father Tom Smedinghoff.

White ribbons and flags filled the River Forest neighborhood where Smedinghoff called home.

"These people that have gone over there and died, they are part of a community and that's what all of this shows that no man is an island. She was important to everybody that lived here and she will be missed," said neighbor Carolyn Brown.

After attending Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Smedinghoff went on to John Hopkins University and went into the Foreign Service after college. She was stationed in Venezuela before she went to Afghanistan. Her dad said that they would sometimes tease her about why she didn't ask for postings in safer places like London or Paris but she said those places were boring.

Her uncle tells FOX 32's Tisha Lewis the family is in disbelief.

"I kept thinking it was a mistake that you know, it was somebody else, it couldn't have been Anne. She was just so excited to be a part of the foreign service and to be in Kabul," said her uncle Paul Smedinghoff.

It was just weeks ago, Secretary of State John Kerry met Smedinghoff who helped coordinate his visit to the region.

"She was part of my team. She was someone who worked hard and put her life on the line so that others could live a better life. Our hearts go out to her mother and her father, the brothers and sisters who survive her," said Secretary of State John Kerry.

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