Finding someone like Jared seemed like a miracle. A true Southern gentleman from Arkansas imported to the small, uptight, yet growing community of Basehor. Jared came from the picture perfect family. Religious and close was how they would described by most. A family of five unwilling to budge on their southern views in a community that wasn’t offering a warm welcome to outsiders with different views.
Their religion was not one that I would choose for myself but is one that Samantha and I would go back and forth over many times. Samantha was Jared’s younger sister. Jared always wanted to challenge authority to a limit most others would not dare. Jared seemed to somehow be able to befriend the unapproachable and make them seem normal. Jared was a great equalizer in the community.
Jared seemed to better fit in with the community, because he challenged the beliefs of his religion. Jared would break the rules of his religion when it came to always wearing a shirt in public something Jared didn’t like to do, or breaking such rules as dancing before marriage. Jared didn’t see the purpose in these rules, so he broke them willingly and often. A rule that Jared didn’t break though was his commitment to GOD. Jared believed in being an upstanding individual. That is why Jared felt that his calling in life was to help others. He was a volunteer firefighter for the Fairmount Township Fire Department.
In December of 2004, Jared was just getting started on his two year probationary period before he could become a career firefighter. It was his life long dream. Jared loved the job and was always up to answer any call to duty.
On the night of December 29, 2004 Jared made his final call to duty. On his way responding to a rollover wreck, Jared was killed in a wreck of his own. He was hit from behind by a sheriff’s deputy responding to the same call. I would like to say that he was killed instantly, that such a brave man had to do no suffering but that was not the case. He died on the way to the hospital. Jared’s death was felt throughout the whole community.
It was not just because Jared was killed in the line of duty something that hadn’t happened in Basehor for more than thirty years. It was because Jared was more than a hero. Jared was a kind companion to many, who would sit beside you and listen intently to your worries, fears, and even dreams. Jared could make anyone laugh even on their darkest days. When he spoke you gave him your undivided attention. Its not as if he demanded that attention, but you knew after just talking to him for a short moment that he deserved it, that Jared was someone special. Jared is more than a hero, he is a great friend, a loved one, and a man that will be greatly missed forever but certainly not forgotten.
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