Maher was laid to rest at
Imogene's Mount Calvary Cemetery
following funeral services at
Shenandoah High School - the
school from which he graduated
He died Nov. 12 while serving
his country in Iraq. The cause
of Maher's gunshot wound is
still under investigation.
The 21-year-old marine told his
family and friends he was proud
of his service there -
especially helping the Iraqi
women and children find freedom
and a better way of life.
He died Nov. 12 at Abu Ghraib,
a Baghdad suburb. It was his
second tour of duty in Iraq. "He
told us he felt safe. He was
well-trained and would be
careful," Jarrod's father, Kevin
Maher, wrote in a note read to
the congregation by another
"He will always be our hero,"
Kevin wrote. "Thank God for
giving him to us."
Kevin joined his wife, Jacque;
sons, Tyler, Nick and Dan;
relatives; friends; and a
contingent of Jarrod's fellow
marines in paying tribute to the
young man the Rev. Kenneth Gross
described as "ornery, daring and
involved in life." Gross, who
presided at Jarrod's funeral
Mass, said the young man wanted
to be a soldier since second or
third grade. "He thought he was
Jarrod's classmates and friends
likely saw themselves that way,
too. But that picture was
momentarily cracked when they
learned of Jarrod's death - a
death given in service to them.
Special sections of the gym
were marked off for classmates.
Kevin's note brought sobs and
sniffles from throughout the
congregation, but especially
from that section.
"He wanted to see other
places," Kevin's note read. "But
he always loved coming back to
Imogene." He described Jarrod's
visits home last fall and this
May - the last time loved one's
saw the 2002 Shenandoah High
"It was perfect," Kevin wrote.
"He was with his family during
the day and with his friends at
night." Jarrod had lots of them,
Kevin and Gross both noted. "We
stayed and watch him walk
through the airport X-ray,"
Kevin said. It was the last
picture they have of their son.
Both fathers - Kevin and Father
Gross - spoke of Jarrod's love
of music. How he learned to play
the guitar and especially
enjoyed blues and jazz.
They spoke of his love for his
younger brothers. How he loved
to toss the football around with
They spoke of his love of
hunting and motorcycles. How he
found a crucifix lying next to
him after he took a spill on his
bike and carried it with him
from that day forward.
Mourners filled the gym
Saturday. Sun filled the late
November sky, breaking through
after a week of clouds and rain.
Jarrod's brothers joined three
marines as pall bearers. Gross
assured the congregation Jarrod
was in heaven and that, while
they all needed to grieve, they
needed to hold onto their faith
- a faith shared by the man they
came to honor.
The funeral procession
stretched along Highway 59,
traveling from high school to
the Imogene cemetery. Mourners
lined the route. A group of
teenage Burger King employees
stood outside as the procession
drove by - at least a full five
minutes. Even though it was
noon, there weren't many
customers. Most everyone was at