Derek was from Salem, Oregon, and a graduate of Sprague High School. He played football and racketball. Derek was an outdoorsman who loved hunting and fishing. He was married to his high school sweetheart, Pamela Petty, and they have a daughter, Madison. He planned to go to college to become an architect after his service in the Marines.
Kary Hadden, Derek's uncle, said his nephew truly believed in what he was doing in Iraq. "He was willing to make the sacrifice for our country," Hadden said.
For a moving video interview with Derek's uncle and brother, go here.