Family mourns death of La Porte soldier

June 8, 2009 8:51:33 PM PDT
Army Specialist Jarrett Griemel loved the outdoors. He loved to surf and one day, wanted to be a surgeon. Last week, those dreams ended when he died in Afghanistan. Specialist Griemel died last Wednesday in a noncombat incident. While his family waits for answers as to how he died, they are remembering a young man they say knew exactly what he wanted out of life.

Flags line Mission Drive, which leads to Specialist Griemel's La Porte home.

"Everybody loved him," said Crystal Schallert, Griemel's sister-in-law. "Everybody loved him very much. He always had that smile. You could count on that."

Relatives describe Griemel as the shining star of their family.

"The only way we can really describe it is he was like the glue that stuck the family together," said Schallert.

His goal was to become a surgeon.

"He had concrete, solid plans of what they were going to do with their lives," said Eddie Childs, Griemel's grandfather. "Then kids came later. I was proud of him for that."

The petroleum specialist died in a noncombat incident in Afghanistan last week, but that's about all the family knows.

"The military, I'm sure, has their reasons not to let us know what is going on," said Childs. "It makes it hard on the family, especially his mama."

"He should be honored as a hero either way," said Schallert. "Regardless."

The twenty-year-old joined the Army his junior year of high school before graduating with honors and marrying his high school sweetheart, Candice.

The military tells his family he was just a day away from a promotion.

"He died Wednesday and was supposed to be promoted to sergeant Thursday," said Childs. "He was proud of himself and we were proud of him."

Relatives traveled to Dover, Delaware, to wait for Griemel's body. They say in a rare military gesture, an Army general who is chief of chaplains presented the family with a medal.

"It's very impressive, the amount of gratitude that people are showing," said Schallert.

And while a medal and answers about his death will not take the pain away, this very patriotic family says they are so proud of Specialist Jarrett Griemel's service.

"People will never forget him," said Childs.

Specialist Griemel will be buried at Grand View Cemetery on the southeast side of town. His family is not yet sure of the funeral date. They are still waiting for his body to arrive in Texas from Delaware.

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