While President Obama and the First Lady attended a memorial service at Baylor University on Thursday, Chicago area residents remembered the former Palos Hills man, who once was an altar boy at Sacred Heart Church in Palos Hills.
Pastor emeritus Robert McGinnity said he is not surprised Sanders died in the line of duty.
"That is the kind of person Kevin was, to reach out and help people," McGinnity said. "It is a great loss to the community because he was just living for other people."
Sanders was an honor student at Marist High School and was also the youngest member of the parish council.
Sanders taught religious classes at the church and portrayed Christ in various church presentations.
"He played Jesus here in our youth production of the living stations. He carried the cross around the church. That was Kevin ? he carried other people's burdens on his back," said Michael Lundberg, youth minister at Sacred Heart Church.
Lundberg says Sanders was a Superman fanatic who would often wear a Superman t-shirt under his Jesus costume.
"That was Kevin," said Lundberg. "He was a Superman and what made him super was that he cared about others."
Sanders recently told McGinnity he would be visiting Palos Hills with his wife and 3-month -old son.
Mcginnity says he now talks to him during his prayers .
Sanders' body will be returned to the Chicago area with honors, an effort which is being coordinated by several fire deparments.
His funeral service will be held at Sacred Heart Church in Palos Hills.