A 39-year-old married father of seven and Utah mayor who took a temporary leave of absence in order to complete his fourth tour of duty was killed in action yesterday when an Afghan commando attacked in an apparent “insider” attack.

According to the Deseret News, U.S. Army Major Brent Taylor made the decision to join the military because of the 9/11 attacks, which occurred while he was in college at Brigham Young University.

The city of North Ogden later elected him to city council in 2009 and then mayor in 2013.

“Serving as the mayor of North Ogden city has been one of the greatest honors of my life and the highlight of my civilian professional career,” he said on Facebook in January. “Service is really what leadership is all about.”

Maj. Taylor is survived by his wife Jennie and their seven children.

The Taylors celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary on September 18, which Maj. Taylor posted about on Facebook. In the post, he called Jennie Taylor a “rock star” who has been a “superwoman through birthing and raising seven children, and through four deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and over five total years of separation for military service.”

Utah Governor Gary Herbert announced that he and Maj. Gen. Jefferson Burton will hold a press conference at noon today regarding the incident:

Other Utahn politicians also shared their condolences on social media, including Utah’s lieutenant governor Spencer Cox and U.S. Senate candidate Mitt Romney:

Cox also shared Taylor’s last Facebook post, from October 28, in which he wrote about the beauty of freedom and watching Afghan men and women vote.

Maj. Taylor ended his final Facebook post with a plea for unity:

As the USA gets ready to vote in our own election next week, I hope everyone back home exercises their precious right to vote. And that whether the Republicans or the Democrats win, that we all remember that we have far more as Americans that unites us than divides us. “United we stand, divided we fall.” God Bless America.

A GoFundMe has been created for Maj. Taylor’s family; in the 16 hours since its creation, it raised more than $106,000 by 1,437 people.

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent those of any other individual or entity. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sarahmquinlan.