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Old 07-25-2009, 07:44 PM
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Post L/CPL Jeremy S. Lasher, Oneida, NY(Afghanistan)

DOD News RELEASE No. 549-09 July 24, 2009

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two Marines who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Lance Cpl. Jeremy S. Lasher, 27, of Oneida, N.Y., and Cpl. Nicholas G. Xiarhos, 21, of Yarmouth Port, Mass., died July 23 of wounds suffered while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. They were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

For additional background information on this Marine, news media representatives may contact
the II Marine Expeditionary Force public affairs office at(910) 451-7200.



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Old 07-28-2009, 12:26 PM
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ONEIDA — A memorial is being planned to honor a fallen Oneida Marine and organizers are hoping that the community will come out in full force to remember a hero.

Lance Cpl. Jeremy S. Lasher, 27, was killed in combat on July 23 in Afghanistan while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Officials at American Legion Post 169 in Oneida and the Verona Fire Department are already working to plan a memorial to remember Lasher on the day the motorcade escorting his body travels down Main Street in Oneida.

Though Post 169 Commander Marty Winchell was not yet sure of a date, he said it is important that citizens pay their respects.

“We’re reaching out to the community,” he said. “We want people to put the flag back on their homes and hang yellow ribbons.”

Already many people have called the Legion to ask what they can do to help. It has been a touching gesture, Winchell said, as this is a community that normally joins together during difficult times. Winchell said Oneida has been a fortunate city in the past, with no soldiers lost in combat since the Vietnam War.

On the day Lasher’s body comes through Oneida, Winchell said the motorcade will pass by the Legion on Main Street. The city has already offered two Oneida City Fire Department ladder trucks, which will cross over the street while flying the large American flag that normally flies outside of Oneida Price Chopper. Other community groups will also be involved with the memorial, Winchell said, but he hopes community members will take part in remembering Lasher as well.

“He made the ultimate sacrifice so we can all sleep at night and know that we’re safe,” he said. “It’s all about welcoming a hero back.”

On the day of the memorial, Winchell said he hopes to see “every single citizen” out on Main Street as the motorcade passes through on its way to Campbell-Dean Funeral Home, which will be handling funeral arrangements. Winchell urges owners of property on the street to keep it looking top-notch for the memorial, which he thinks will draw a large crowd.

Winchell said officials have been working with Lasher’s family to plan the memorial at their pace. Lasher leaves behind a wife, Andrea, and a one-and-a-half year old son. Winchell said Lasher’s family will need the support of the community and knows that local people, many of whom have tight military ties, will join together at this tough time.

“In times of crisis, Oneida has always bonded together to make sure we get through it,” he said.

Already, the Verona Fire Department, which Lasher was a member of, has placed a memorial for Lasher upon their Hill Road fire house.

Lasher was an Oneida High School Class of 2000 graduate. He had been assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force in Camp Lejeune, N.C.

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A man with an undeniable character, conviction and courage, was how fellow friend and Verona fireman described Lance Cpl. Jeremy Lasher, 27. Similar sentiments and memories were shared during his funeral service Saturday Aug. 1 at New Beginnings Methodist church in Wampsville.

“We are not here to mourn Jeremy,” said Steve Wright, who served the Verona Fire Department alongside Lasher. “But to honor what he has become.”

Wright said lasher’s incredible character will forever be an inspiration to the fire department and the entire community, as he was a “great friend and a true hero.”

“Today with Jeremy in heaven, those streets are guarded,” Wright said.

As many family and friends agreed, Lasher was a quiet and soft-spoken man that never wanted to be the center of attention. But with his undoubted sense of courage and service, no one could deny him these special moments to honor his name.

Lasher’s father-in-law Ben Wolcik said that he always felt at peace knowing that a man like Jeremy was taking care of his daughter Andrea, 24, and his 1-year-old grandson Caden.

“He wasn’t outspoken,” Wolcik said. “He spoke with his actions.”

Lasher’s brother Ryan, also a U.S. Marine, said that he had started writing down what he wanted to say when he was traveling to Dover, Del., to meet the that plane that would be carrying his brother’s body home from Afghanistan.

He said he was thinking about bringing his brother home “to a good welcome,” which in Ryan’s heart he knew would be the way that Jeremy “wouldn’t want it.” Ryan said that he and his brother had talked about what could happen at war, he said they “even joked about it,” but that he "never thought this day would come."

As the memories were shared, Reverend Skip Hellmig, who officiated the service, spoke between family members as he explained how hard it would be to put himself in the shoes of any of the Lasher family members. Hellmig talked about Jeremy’s courage and duty as a Marine by which he paid the ultimate price for our country’s freedom.

“They serve because they love,” Hellmig said of all servicemen.

The reverend said that he knows there might be thousands of questions asking “why?” Why my son? Why my husband?”

Hellmig said the best thing he could offer to help cope with those questions is to rest Jeremy’s soul and look to the future of filling Caden’s life with his father’s memories.

Like Hellmig, Andrea’s father said that there are many stories and memories of Jeremy that will be shared with Caden so that he knows the honorable man that his father was.

Jeremy’s sister Jennifer spoke on behalf of Andrea during the service as she read a few excerpts from a journal Andrea had kept. Jennifer said the passages were from Feb. 1, 2007, during Jeremy’s first deployment. The passages contained quotes that Andrea said she found and thought best described her love for her husband Jeremy.

Lasher’s mother Vicky Arnold of Oneida, spoke toward the end of the service also, so that she could not only honor her son as a hero, but her daughter-in-law Andrea. Arnold explained that while Jeremy was on his first deployment, Andrea gave birth to their son Caden and managed to be strong during a difficult time.

Arnold said that Andrea should be honored as well for displaying such strength and courage and pulling through as she and Caden waited for Jeremy to come home.

Both Andrea and Caden were true joys of Jeremy’s life, according to his brother Ryan. “Family came first for Jeremy,” he said. He told the service attendants that if they ever wanted to see true love they should see Jeremy and Andrea or hear them talk about each other.

Ryan said that he wouldn’t go on talking but that anyone of his brother’s friends or family could tell them what kind of friend, brother, husband, son and community member Jeremy was.

“Next time we meet at the gates of heaven,” Ryan said of his brother. “I will salute you and tell you, you are relieved of your post.”

Contributions, in Jeremy’s memory, can be made to the Caden S. Lasher Educational Fund, c/o Oneida Savings Bank, 182 Main St., Oneida NY 13421.
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