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Friends remember Jarett Yoder killed in Afghanistan

Published On: Apr 10 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 11 2013 12:24:16 PM CDT

Friends remember local National Guardsmen killed in Afghan

BRECKNOCK TWP., Pa. -

A soldier from Berks County has been identified as one of two members of the Pennsylvania National Guard who were killed in a helicopter crash in Nangarhar, Afghanistan on Tuesday, officials said.

Those who knew Chief Warrant Officer Jarett Yoder, of Brecknock Township, remember him as a soldier who served his country, but also as a family man, track star, soccer player and a hero.

Yoder, 26, married Heather Garay last July at the Reading Liederkranz club in Lower Alsace Township.

"They were actually supposed to get married later in the year more towards the fall, but he got deployed so the club rearranged its schedule so that we could fit them in," said Robin Pritz, sous chef for the club.

Yoder wore his National Guard dress uniform even in the heat.

"It was 105 degrees out and right when they were giving the speeches and everything, it poured rain," said Pritz. "And after just about 10 minutes and cooled it off by 20 degrees and they had a great time."

Those are memories Pritz will hold onto.

"Because it's like one big extended family up here if you will and they wanted to be a part of it," said Pritz, "So, we were all very shocked and sad."

Jarett and Heather not only got married at the Reading Liederkranz club, they also became members. A close friend who has been in contact with Heather said she was on her way to Dover, Del., where his body will arrive.

Anyone who knows the young couple said it's been an emotional day.

"He was very passionate about serving his country and that's why we're all so proud of him," said Dr. Darrell Markley, principal at Oley Valley High School.

At Oley Valley, Yoder was a pole vaulter on the track team and number 11 on the soccer team.

"He played as he kind of lived his life," said Shawn Meals, the soccer coach. "He worked hard. He had a great work ethic. He was very team-oriented."

Yoder graduated in 2005, but he stood out.

At the Liederkranz club, where they plan so many weddings, Heather and Jarrett also stood out.

"In the front, when you walk in ,we're going to have a picture and a book for all the members to sign," said Pritz. "So, they're going to have a month's time to come to sign."

Pritz said he is still thinking about what he'll write to the soldier's wife.

"I know I want her to be strong because I think that's what Jarett would have wanted."