Thursday, May 10, 2007

Jason R. Harkins dies of injuries from I.E.D.

Jason Harkins liked to fish, loved Jesus and had a pet cat named Simba, according to family members and friends mourning the White County sergeant killed Sunday while serving his country in Iraq.

His aunt, Gail Nix of Cleveland, said when he wasn't soldiering, Harkins could often be found scouting area waterways for trophy fish. She also noted with a laugh that the tall, big-shouldered infantryman shared with his wife, Emily, a beloved pet feline named Simba.

But the most common thread in people's memories of Harkins is his unashamed faith in God.

As a sergeant, Harkins was able to minister to the spiritual needs of many of the younger men in his unit who were making their first trip to the war zone, said Nix.

When Harkins was home, he attended Concord Baptist Church in Clermont, where his mom and stepdad, Allen and Nancy Fritchey, are active members.

The Rev. Alan Morris, pastor of Concord Baptist in Clermont, said the Fritcheys were uneasy about Harkins being an infantryman, but said he believed in the cause. Morris said Harkins and his wife were faithful attenders at their church in Washington state, and they were looking forward to returning home

after the summer and starting a family. Nix added that Harkins had been good about calling home frequently to talk to his wife and family.

Morris said Harkins also had a gift for writing, and wrote him twice to thank the church for gifts they had sent and to let them know what was going in Iraq. His emails were eloquent and descriptive, giving a taste of his life on the field, said Morris. He did not like to be called a hero, said Morris, but just wanted people to know he was an ordinary guy having to do an extraordinary job. He felt honored to be there and to serve his country, said Morris.

Harkins' mother, Nancy Fritchey, said she wants God to get the glory for her son's life and character.

Emily Harkins said the words of Psalm 144:1-2 well-described her late husband: “Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war; My safe guard and my fortress, my stronghold, my deliverer, My shield, in whom I trust, who subdues peoples under me.”

She said her husband loved being a soldier.

Asked what the community could do for the family, Nix said, “pray.”

From the White County News Telegraph