Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Farewell and Walk with God, SPC Joseph A Jeffries

SPC Joseph A Jeffries

Died May 29, 2004
Kandahar, Afghanistan

SPC Joseph A Jeffries, 21, of Beaverton, Oregon, assigned to the 329th Psychological Operations Company, Army Reserve, Portland, Oregon was killed May 29 when his vehicle hit a land mine in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Also killed were Capt. Daniel W. Eggers, 28, of Cape Coral, Florida and Sgt. 1st Class Robert J. Mogensen, 26, of Leesville, Louisiana. Jeffries was attached to Special Forces.

Jeffries was the first son of Oregon to die while serving in Afghanistan. He was born in Portland and graduated from Sunset High School. He joined the Army Reserve in 2002. The following year he was sent to Bosnia. When he returned, he married Betsy Fiddler - a co-worker at a day care center. At the time of his death
, Betsy was expecting their first child.

Jeffries loved his wife, racing cars, basketball, skiing and had always wanted to be an "Army Guy." He raced his cars at the River City Speedway in St Helens, Oregon with his father. When his father received word of his death, he was 'covered in grease' preparing a car to race as his son's proxy.

His father said that Jeffries felt that the Afghan civilians wanted the soldiers there and were volunteering important information. "In Afghanistan, he felt we were making a fifference, and he was glad he was there. And, from a father's standpont, I'm glad we had that discussion."

Joseph Jefferies was survived by his wife, Betsy, his father, Mark Jeffries, his mother, Linda Lock, sisters Heidi and Terri Jeffries, and grandparents Betty and Rick Smith.

Joseph Jeffries was buried with honors at Willamette National Cemetery. At the River City Speedway, he was honored with a memorial race.

Betsy Jeffries carries her 11-month-old son, Joseph Jeffries II, at the Gold Star Wives luncheon March 22, 2005, in Arlington, Va. Her husband, Joseph A. Jeffries, was killed in Afghanistan on May 29, 2004. Photo by Rudi Williams

Betsy Jeffries was five months pregnant when her husband, Joseph Jeffries was killed in Afghanistan.

"Numbness, denial" are the words she used to describe her feelings when she was told her husband had been
killed in action. "I still live in denial," she said. "I didn't want to believe it - still don't."

She said the Gold Star Wives helps her to cope with her loss. "I live next door to another Gold Star wife," Jefferies noted. "It's good to have her there and to be able to talk to these other women. I can go online and write how I feel, and people will tell me that I'm normal. I don't need to stress out about what stage I'm at, because all of it is normal. Knowing that I'm not weird, or wrong, it's just normal. I'm not odd for feeling or doing or anything."

Jefferies said being a member of the Gold Star Wives makes her feel sane. She advises other young widows to seek out the organization. "And find someone, especially your own age," she said. "For me being married five months is different from someone who has been married for 15 years. They grieve for something they've lost. I grieve for something that I never had and I long to have - wish I could have had."

"His main goal in life was to have a family," Jefferies said, as she fought back tears. "He just wanted to be a dad. That's all he wanted. His main goal was to provide for his children.

"After we found out that we were pregnant, he was going to switch over to active duty to finish out his five years from the reserves," she said. "After that, he was thinking about being a firefighter or a policeman."

We keep the Jeffries family in our thoughts and prayers. We will never forget your sacrifice.


Lita said...

Remembering you, Joe, and your bright smile that would warm up a room. This Memorial Day, as every one since 2004, you and your family have been in my thoughts and prayers. It was an honor to serve with you.
-CW2 Lita Lott

Jennifer Johnson said...

2009 - Betsy, your family continues to be in our thoughts. I still have a picture of Joe Jr. in my wallet. (Would love an updated one!) Your sacrifice is not forgotten.