Friends and family of fallen soldier Jason Hendrix gathered at his alma matter, Sequoyah High School, this week to pay tribute to the life and spirit of the Rogers County serviceman.

Staff Sergeant Hendrix was killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb in February of 2005, but the Thursday morning service paid tribute to the life, not death, of the Sequoyah man.

“We’re not here today to mourn Jason; we’re here to celebrate his life,” said Danna Malone, friend of Hendrix. “Today would have been his 30th birthday, so it’s fitting that this memorial service reflect on his life — the life which he gave in service of his country.”

Hendrix was killed moments after saving the lives of other injured soldiers, one of whom sent a letter of thanks to Hendrix’ family.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t think of Jason and how he gave his life to save mine,” read Malone. “Not once did he flinch when we were under fire. He was a true leader — a true hero.”

A dispute arose over where Hendrix would be laid to rest — in Oklahoma, which his father wanted, or in California where his mother lives.

The courts finally decided the case and Hendrix was buried in Oklahoma, although Malone was quick to point out that “Jason was much more than just the last year and a half — so much more.”

Other speakers remembered Hendrix as a “true Oklahoma hero,” whose passion was in serving his country.

During the service, Malone announced the establishment of the Jason Hendrix Memorial Scholarship Fund to help youth attend Thunderbird Youth Academy in Pryor.

“One of Jason’s unfulfilled dreams was to work for Thunderbird, and with the Scholarship, in a way, he is,” Malone said.

The memorial service concluded with the dedication of a red Maple tree on the Sequoyah school campus, adjacent to memorial markers, remembering Hendrix.

Donations to the Jason Hendrix Memorial Scholarship Fund can be made at RCB Bank. To learn more of Hendrix’ life, visit www. jasons-peace.org.

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