Saturday at the Visalia Cemetery, family and friends gathered for a unique ceremony honoring the life of Jared Verbeek. The 22-year old Marine was killed in Afghanistan by a road side bomb a year and a half ago.
As a way to pay tribute, Captain Gregory Kosh led the service to re-enlist Sergeant Jonathan Diehm as a member of the Marine Corps. It took place next to Jared Verbeek’s tombstone.
“To me, having them both here was just such a powerful moment and I'm glad we were able to be a part of it. I know Jared is very honored,” said Ashley Verbeek, sister of the fallen Marine.
This event was a reminder of the sacrifice he made for our country.
“He was very honorable. He would go out of his way to help any individual. He was very kind,” said Travis Verbeek, father of the fallen Marine.
“There's no doubt in my mind that he's here watching laughing and joking about everything we're doing here today,” said Sgt. Jonathan Diehm.
Sgt. Diehm was one of Verbeek's closest friends. Diehm said it was only right he try and include Jared as he furthers this military career.
“He was the only person I could talk to about re-enlisting so I'm honored to be here and re-enlist right next to him,” said Sgt. Diehm.
“I've done a number of re-enlistments before, but never at a location like this before,” said Cpt. Gregory Kosh.
Cpt. Kosh was Verbeek's platoon commander and was with him when he was killed in Afghanistan during the summer of 2011.
“When he was faced with challenges in the most trying times, he still kept a good spirit and was able to find humor in small things and I think others drew strength from that and we were all lucky to be with him,” said Cpt. Kosh.
Jared's sister summed up what a day like this means to her family.
“That nobody has forgotten. Jared's brothers that were out there with him are still looking for ways to always honor him in everything they do,” said Ashley Verbeek.