Funeral for Chicago soldier killed in Afghanistan

September 26, 2008 2:51:29 PM PDT
Family and friends said goodbye to National Guardsman Jason Vazquez, who was killed in Afghanistan on September 17.A roadside bomb claimed Vazquez's life. Friday morning, a funeral service was held on Chicago's Northwest Side.

There was an impressive turnout for the funeral. In addition to serving in the Illinois National Guard, Vazquez was also a Cook County correctional officer. There were dozens of men and women in uniform on hand to their respects.

Twenty-four-year-old Jason Vazquez grew up in the Logan Square neighborhood. He was in the Illinois National Guard and had recently been deployed to Afghanistan. He had only been there for about a month when the vehicle he was riding in was hit by a roadside bomb.

Dozens of Cook County sheriff's deputies attended Vazquez's funeral, in addition to service men and women with the Illinois National Guard. There were easily 1,000 people on hand for the funeral. Vazquez was a Cook County correctional officer, so the Cook County Sheriff's Department was well represented.

Friends and family had a lot of wonderful things to say about Vazquez. He had several nicknames, apparently. One of them, "Smooth Energy," because he was a quiet guy who also had a lot of life and spirit.

Vazquez's family says that they are most proud of him for his decision to serve in the military.

"Jason was not only my son but my best friend. Again, 24 years of my life that I appreciated, it was not only great what he did and all his goals in life, but he will serve the great nation we live in," said Jose Vazquez, father.

"He was funny, always confident. He was a trendsetter. Like my father said, he was proud to wear that uniform," said Jose Vazquez, brother.

"He was great with everybody. Obviously, you see how many friends he has. So it shows you the kind of man he was. He was just a person that was loved by everybody," said Luis Santa, friend.

Jason Vazquez graduated from Schurz High School in 2002. He will be laid to rest at Mount Olive Cemetery Friday afternoon.


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