The Associated Press
While serving in Iraq, Sgt. Derek Hahn came to know Jason E. Burkholder as a person who could always make any situation seem better or brighter.
“You could be mad at the world and in two minutes he’d have you laughing and having a good time,” Hahn said.
Burkholder, 27, of Elida, Ohio, was killed Feb. 8 in Kabul of wounds from an improvised explosive device. He was a 2000 high school graduate and was assigned to Marion, Ill.
He also served in the Marine Corps from 2000 until 2004. In all, Burkholder served three combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and two non-combat missions, according to friends who served with him.
“He enjoyed life as much as anybody possibly could,” Spc. Dylan Devitte said. “Nothing will be the same without him.”
Burkholder was a loyal friend with an infectious smile and an enthusiastic personality, his friends said. “He always had your back in any situation,” said Hahn. “You knew he was there for you.”
Burkholder loved serving his country and being a soldier, said his widow, Amanda. “He wouldn’t have chosen any other way,” she said.