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A Watseka soldier is being remembered for his smile, upbeat personality and love of family.

The community is mourning after learning of the death of Sgt. Jeremy C. Sherman, 23, who was one of five American soldiers killed in a helicopter crash in Egypt last week. Also killed were soldiers from France and Czech Republic.

Sherman’s official bio from U.S. Army Central says he was a UH-60 crew chief assigned to Aviation Company, Task Force Sinai.

He enlisted in the military in 2015 and arrived in Egypt in October. He had seen previous overseas assignments that included tours in Korea and Afghanistan.

He and fellow soldiers were part of the Multinational Force and Observers, which is a multinational peacekeeping mission established in 1981 to supervise the implementation of the security provisions of the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty of Peace.

He earned several awards and decorations including the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Award, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, and the Overseas Service Ribbon.

Community members are remembering the 2015 Watseka Community High School graduate.

Connie Caldwell was a guidance counselor at WCHS when Sherman was in school there.

She wrote, ‘When I heard of Jeremy’s accident, my first thought was about his family. Jeremy always made it clear that he loved his family, his parents and siblings.

“Jeremy’s death brings back the reality that any young person volunteering to serve our country faces risks everyday whether at war or not,” Caldwell said in a written message. “I think back to when Jeremy was in high school and how sure he was that a military career was right for him. He met with his recruiter and planned for basic training and the job he hoped to have within the Army. He was so proud of his choice to be a soldier. I saw Jeremy once in uniform. He carried it so well and with great pride. My thoughts are with his mother, new wife, and family. Thank you for serving unselfishly, Jeremy. You made us proud.”

“I had the joy and privilege of having Jeremy Sherman in my youth group when he was at WCHS,” said Jonica Suver in a written statement.

“Jeremy was always smiling, polite and kind. I always enjoyed having him at Refuge and appreciated how he would give anyone a hug if they needed it! He had a bit of an ornery streak in him and loved making everyone laugh!

“Many Sunday nights I found extra candid shots on my phone he would take which always made me smile! I remember when he decided to join the Army, he was so excited about having a future. He wrote “Hard work and dedication in the end does pay off as of around 8 hours ago I signed my contract to the military that is prolly the most exciting and life changing thing I have ever done and the next 6 years will bring alot of change in my life and I can’t wait to see where is goes”. We were all so proud of him!

“One of the last trips he took with us to our Winter Retreat he felt so encouraged by the speakers and even shared on social media the impact it had on him. “this last weekend at SpringHill Camps has changed me and I’m pretty sure the whole group that went. I just need to step up and stop being just a believer and be a follower in Christ. This whole trip has changed my point of view on a lot of things and i thank our leaders for bringing us and making all of us stronger Christians.!!!”

“That’s what I think of when I remember Jeremy – he was real about how things were and while sometimes they were hard, he always chose to look for the brighter things. He will be greatly missed – thank you Jeremy for your service & your sacrifice!”

Teacher Darin Hartman said in a telephone call Saturday that he remembers Sherman as a student who was always smiling. Even when Hartman didn’t have him in class, “he would stop in periodically,” he said.

“For me, that was Jeremy. He was always grinning. You knew he was always thinking about something or going to say something. He was never in a bad mood, always upbeat. He would always stop and say hi in the hallway.”

Hartman said even after school if the two saw each other at a store or some place “he would always say hi. He was just a great kid.”

Hartman said he had heard of the helicopter accident but didn’t realize Sherman was one of the soldiers killed until he heard it Saturday.

“My heart just broke,” he said. “It puts things in perspective. I have so much respect for men and women that enlist and serve our country. My heart breaks for his parents. They are certainly in my prayers.”

The cause of the accident is under investigation. Other Americans killed in the helicopter crash were Capt. Seth Vandekamp, 31; Chief Warrant Officer 3 Dallas Garza, 34; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Marwan Ghabour, 27; and Staff Sgt. Kyle McKee, 35.

“It is with profound sadness that we mourn this tragic loss of life,” said Col.

David S. Sentell, commander of Task Force Sinai, in the U.S. Army Central news release. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and loved ones of our fallen during this most difficult time. They should know that their nation will continue to honor their sacrifice.”

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