By Rick Sallinger

ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4) – Jack Shirley was 24, almost 25, and raised in Colorado, but he died on a battlefield in Syria. He is seen in a video on Youtube posted by the Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units, called YPG.

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Shirley is seen in an unidentified location identifying himself as a man of two worlds.

“Good afternoon, my name is Auger in Kurdish. My real name is Jack,” he says.

Jack Shirley (credit: CBS)

Jack Shirley (credit: CBS)

Born Jonathan Levi Shirley, a picture of him as a child adorns the family home in Arvada. His father, Russell L. Shirley, told CBS4 he was a veteran of the Vietnam War, which caused him many problems. He didn’t expect his son to become a fighter, but says he should be honored as if he fought for his country.

“There’s no flag at half staff for my son and there should be because I think he’s a hero and my hero,” Shirley said, with tears in his eyes and his voice trembling.

His son’s real goal was to become a U.S. Marine, but the family says his eyesight prevented that. He was then recruited through Facebook by the Kurdish group the YPG. His family knew it would dangerous, but told him they were proud.

CBS4's Rick Sallinger interviews members of Jack Shirley's family. (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger interviews members of Jack Shirley’s family. (credit: CBS)

Jack’s younger sister Kate Shirley told CBS4 her brother tried to make people laugh, but had a very serious side.

“He had such a strong conviction that when there is injustice in the world somebody has to stand up and say no.”

She held one of her brother’s Kurdish scarves in her hand during her interview with CBS4. Jack’s mother Susan Shirley, an Arvada community activist, believes her son died following his “calling.”

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“You don’t do what your mother wants you to do, you do what you are called to do,” she said.

And that calling, she says, was to fight against ISIS.

“Against the worst enemy they could possibly have,” she said.

On the YPG-posted video, her son spoke of why he was in Syria to fight ISIS.

“They’re my definition of pure evil. I don’t think they’re good people.”

The family was told he was killed by the explosion of a land mine.

“We’ll miss him,” Russell Shirley said.

LINK: Help Levi “Jack” Shirley Get Home (GoFundMe)

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CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.