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    Posted January 24, 2014 by
    Orlando, Florida
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Salute to troops

    Marine Dies; But keeps on Living..

    Today was one of the saddest days of my life. When I came home today I found my daughter Crystal in tears. As she hugged me she said, "He's gone."
    Let me tell you a story of an American hero twice over.
    His name was Sgt. Jacob M. Hess a 22 year old Marine from Spokane, Washington.
    Sgt. Hess died while supporting combat operations in Afghanistan on January 1st, 2014. The first combat causality of 2014. He was a hard worker, extremely liked by all that met him, an athlete, son and brother, husband, a true hero. Sgt. Hess earned several awards during his service including, The Global War On Terrorism Service Medal, The National Defense Service Medal, The Good Conduct Medal,The Afghanastan Campaign Medal and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
    Several hundred people turned out Monday, January 13, 2014, to honor Sgt. Jacob Hess. All flags in Spokane and the state of Washington were flown at half staff.
    “Leave here today knowing he’s the best I’ve served with,” his supervisor, 1st Sgt. Leon Banta, told those gathered in the Life Center Foursquare Church. “He was the epitome of what a leader in the Marines should be.”
    Hess was given full military honors, including a 21-gun salute. People who knew him best described his loyalty and devotion to family, friends and country.
    Not only was he smart and efficient, he was also known for his strength and quickness. “If you know Sgt. Hess, he was a physical fitness monster,” Banta said.
    Born on Feb. 5, 1991, in San Diego, Hess grew up in a military family, moving a number of times for deployments. He had his own passport by age 4. He spent seven years in Okinawa, forging childhood friendships during long days exploring the island’s beaches. He considered Okinawa his emotional home.
    Prior to his senior year of high school, Hess moved to Spokane with his family and graduated from North Central High School. Soccer and hockey were his favorite sports. He liked to read and had a knack for history. He had been hoping to take a tour of historic battle sites. He didn’t let his skills go to his head; he was humble and quiet, friends and family said.
    Hess married his high school sweetheart, Bridget (Ramirez) Hess. The couple decided to join the Marines together. They married within a week of their respective boot camp graduations, family members said.
    When Bridget Hess’ unit came up for deployment, Jacob Hess volunteered for deployment as well.“He wouldn’t send his wife somewhere he wasn’t willing to go as well,” according to his memorial program.
    Hess was a blood, platelet and bone marrow donor, and his family has suggested that those who wish to honor him follow his example. This is where the story changes. Jacob Hess continues to live! Because of his life, my daughter has her life. Jacob Hess was the bone marrow donor who saved our daughter, and put her cancer in remission.
    After an extensive search for a family donor failed, our doctors turned to the national bone marrow registry. The search found a match in Jacob Hess. Before he was deployed to Afghanistan he went into the hospital to donate the life giving bone marrow platelets to cure Crystal. Today his platelets flow through her veins to keep our daughter alive and healthy.
    Not only is Jacob Hess an American hero, he was a true angel on earth. Crystal was given a 10 per cent chance to survive, but because of Jacob Hess our daughter lives and raises her two children, attends school, and has the gift of life.
    To the Hess family please know that every time I hug my daughter, kiss her, touch her hand, I will remember Jacob. I can never put into words what your son and husband gave our family. Just know he will never be forgotten, for he lives everyday with us.
    Hess is survived by his wife, Bridget; mother, Keirsten Lyons; father, Michael Hess; brother, Cameron Hess; grandparents James and Lynn Brink, and Robert and Charlene Hess; and extended family.
    In lieu of flowers, Jacob Hess’ family has suggested that a donation of blood, platelets or bone marrow would be a good way to honor him. Please share this story of love and sacrifice with all you know and love.
    God bless you and rest in peace Sgt. Jacob Hess. With love, the Osha family "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13
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