Monday, September 03, 2007

Jessy Pollard laid to rest

Patti Jo "Pj" Dewitt said her son, Jessy Pollard, was "a good-looking kid, the heartbreaker type" who loved God, sports and his country.

"I called him Sweet Boy, and he used to call me Momma," Dewitt said at her son's funeral on Friday.

Pollard, an Army Ranger and 2003 Glendale High School graduate, died Aug. 22 when the UH-60 Black Hawk in which he was riding crashed due to an apparent mechanical problem during a nighttime mission in Iraq. He was 21. Thirteen others were on the helicopter.

"He loved the Army," Dewitt said. "He loved what he did."

Pollard's service was held at North Point Church, 3401 W. Norton Road, where he was a member.

"Our hearts grow and are heavy at the loss ... but at the same moment our hearts are proud," said North Point pastor Troy Hartman.

Nathan Teegarden said the 6-foot, 5-inch Pollard was his best friend, even though the two were exact opposites.

"He's tall, I'm short," said Teegarden. "He could reach things in cabinets that I couldn't reach. I could fit in compact cars and he couldn't."

Teegarden said the two went to school, laughed, prayed, read the Bible and played ping-pong and basketball together.

"The memories are going to hold me over ... until I do see him in eternity," he said. "Then we can make more memories together."

Terry Bruton, Pollard's high school art teacher, said her former student was the most genuine person she has known.

"Jessy was who he was," she said. "He didn't change to fit the individual or the situation."

Dewitt said she knew of only two things that could have been worse than losing her son — having to watch him suffer or knowing he died before accepting Jesus Christ as his savior.

She said she expects to reunite with her son in heaven.

"He's home and he's waiting to see me," Dewitt said. "I know the first thing I will hear is, 'Hey, Momma.'"

The service began with a recording of the gospel hymn "Amazing Grace," followed by Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA."

Photos of Pollard from childhood to adulthood were displayed on large screens at the front of the sanctuary during the latter song.

Brig. Gen. Jack Sterling, assistant commandant of the Army Engineer School at Fort Leonard, gave Pollard's family two medals the soldier earned during his tour in Iraq — the Bronze Star medal for meritorious achievement and the Good Conduct medal for exemplary behavior.

Burial with military honors — including a 3-volley salute — at the Missouri Veterans Cemetery followed the church service.

One hundred members of the Patriot Guard, which includes members of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, carrying a nearly equal number of U.S. flags, stood vigil outside the church during the service and served as an escort to the cemetery.

From theNews-Leader

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