Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Jay Cajimat laid to rest

KAHULUI – Friends and family from as far away as Alaska and Nevada came to remember the life of Maui soldier Jay S. Cajimat, who was killed April 6 while serving his country in Iraq.

Cajimat’s loved ones and former high school classmates gathered at Ballard Family Mortuary on Friday in the first of two services to be held this weekend for the 20-year-old Cajimat of Lahaina.

“He’s a good kid,” said Cajimat’s uncle, Chris Cajimat.

Looking at a display of photos of the young private first class, he remembered Jay as a quiet child. He said words couldn’t express his feelings over his nephew’s death.

“It’s such a loss to us to lose fine people,” said Howard Sugai, public affairs officer with the Pacific Army Reserve.

Sugai said Jay Cajimat was so moved by what happened on 9-11 that he wanted to sign up for the army right after high school.

Cajimat’s family and friends said the Lahainaluna High School graduate

felt a deep drive to serve his country, leading him to the assignment to Iraq, where he died April 6 of wounds suffered when a roadside car bomb exploded near his unit. Cajimat was with the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division based at Fort Riley, Kan.

Born in Manila, Jay moved with his family to Maui when he was 3 years old.

He is survived by his parents, Dionie and Lilibeth Cajimat; three sisters, Kaya, LC and LJ; and his grandparents, Gabriel and Adelida Salcedo and Carolina Cajimat.

In the lobby at the mortuary Friday, photos of Jay Cajimat with his family and friends were displayed for mourners. Three soldiers in dress uniforms were assigned to represent the military at the door of the chapel.

Inside the chapel, the casket draped with the American flag was surrounded by wreaths. A photo of Jay Cajimat in uniform was above the casket.

Sonny Seguro of Alaska, an uncle, said Jay Cajimat talked to Seguro’s 20-year-old daughter just five days before he died. Jay and the daughter were arranging a surprise phone call for their grandma on Carolina Cajimat’s birthday.

The surprise birthday call never materialized.

Instead, Seguro said they got a call from Jay Cajimat’s father, Dionie, that his son had died.

Seguro and 15 other family members from Alaska were in attendance for Cajimat’s funeral.

At the front, Cajimat’s family and friends all wore special white shirts with words remembering their “unspoken leader.”

Close friends from among his Lahainaluna classmates took leave from schools on the Mainland and Oahu to attend his funeral.

“I had to just come here,” said Walter Batarina, who attends Nevada Career Institute. He said he could not miss the service for his friend.

Germaine Corpuz, who attends Heald College on Oahu, said he needed to see Jay Cajimat’s family during their time of need.

“I want to make sure they’re OK.”

The military liaison, Sugai, said he has been to eight funerals for those who have died in the war recently and was on Maui to assist with the details of the services for Cajimat.

“It’s just tragic we have to lose our sons and daughters like this,” he said with a deep sigh.

From the Maui News

Related Link:
Jay S. Cajimat dies of injuries from vehicle-borne I.E.D.