Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Jeffrey Bisson laid to rest

VISTA ---- A hushed silence overtook several hundred people as eight armed servicemen marched into North Coast Church's worship room Saturday afternoon, carrying a fallen soldier in an American-flag-draped casket at their side.

In an hour-long service at the Vista church, friends, family and fellow military men and women honored the life of 22-year-old Spc. Jeffrey D. Bisson, who died Jan. 20 while serving in Karmah, Iraq.

Bisson was a U.S. Army paratrooper assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry (Airborne), 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, AK. He and four other soldiers were killed when their Humvee was struck by a roadside bomb in the Anbar province.

"Here we have a man who has given his very best, and he has paid the ultimate sacrifice for his country," Army Maj. General Michael H. Sumrall said Saturday. "He didn't just join the Army, he joined the toughest part. ...That's a big deal."

One of a handful of people to speak during the service, Sumrall remembered Bisson for his courage and honor. He shared messages from Bisson's battalion commander in Iraq, who said Bisson was a leader and someone "you could always count on."

"It's an honor to work with a soldier like Jeffrey," Sumrall added.

Green military tags with Bisson's name, rank, age and date of death were given to guests as they entered the hall.

Bisson made a lasting impression on people, not only through his military service but also through his love of adventure and passion for life, family and friends said.

His father, Richard Bisson, recounted stories from his son's days in the Boy Scouts. He spoke of watching him mature into a man as he became an Eagle Scout, graduated from high school and joined the military.

Whether he was mountain biking, hiking, learning how to pitch a tent and survive in the wild, or soaring through the sky in his favorite pastime ---- skydiving ---- his son gave it his all, Richard Bisson said.

"You could see that the fire of adventure in him was quickly spreading," Richard Bisson said of his son's last scout camp and first test of living in the wilderness as a teen.

Born in Chula Vista, Bisson spent the first eight years of his life living in Carlsbad and then moved to Vista with his family. There he built lasting friendships through his involvement in sports teams, the scouts and school.

In 2003, Bisson graduated from Rancho Buena Vista High School.

"He was a great friend, the best friend a guy could have," Vista resident and childhood friend Chad Maisenbracher said. "I will always remember the wonderful smile and cheerfulness he had around his family."

The boys grew up together, participating in everything from bowling and summer camps to graduating as Eagle Scouts.

"He was full of life," Maisenbracher said, adding that the only thing that Bisson couldn't get him to do was to go sky diving.

In a picture display in the lobby and a slide show during the service, guests revisited some of Bisson's life benchmarks and shared in memories of time spent with family and friends throughout the years.

Outside, two lines of more than 60 motorcycle riders from the Patriot Guard, a group of riders that stands outside the funerals of fallen troops to pay their respects and shield families from protesters, also attended. They wore leather and carried American flags as they paid tribute to the soldier, his family and loved ones. There were no protesters at the Vista service.

Bisson's 19-year-old wife, Rebecca, spoke of the beauty of the day.

"I know he is looking down on us, smiling and getting ready to make his big jump into heaven," she said during the service. "We have wonderful blue skies today."

From the NC Times

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Jeffrey Bisson remembered

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Jeffrey D. Brisson dies of injuries from I.E.D.