FALLEN SON: Lights to shine in Shock's memory

GREEN SPRINGS
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

GREEN SPRINGS

The pain never goes away, no matter how many days, months or years pass.

"You don't heal. You just get better at making people think that you are OK, but you are never OK," Sherry Shock said through tears. "But you've got to go on. You don't want to, but you've got to."

Sherry is one of many mothers who endure the same type of pain every day. For her it's the loss of her eldest son.

U.S. Marines Reserve Lance Cpl. Jeremy S. Shock died in November 2006 while serving in Iraq. He was on patrol when a roadside bomb exploded under his vehicle.

Shortly thereafter a government van, carrying Marines who would bear the tragic news, arrived at the Shock family home in Green Springs.

"I knew why they were here," Sherry said. "That's the only reason they come to your house."

Before Jeremy went off to war, the family had been counseled on the impacts of war.

"It's sad to say, but they really try to prepare us for the worst," said Jeremy's father, Duane.

Their home is now adorned with mementos of their son's life -- medals, his uniform caps, diplomas and childhood photos. Outside a Marine Corps flag waves in the breeze, and a mural of Jeremy fills the back window of Sherry's van.

This Memorial Day, like the ones past and those to come, brought heartbreak.

"It definitely means a lot more now," Duane said.

Through the tears the Shock family -- including Jeremy's younger siblings, Zack, 17, and Sara, 15 -- are overwhelmed with pride.

"He'd light up a room just by walking into it," Zack said.

After graduating from Clyde High School in 2002, Jeremy attended Tiffin University on a football scholarship and earned a criminal justice degree. There he also met his wife, Clara, who now lives in Cincinnati and remains a private person, the Shock family said.

After a summer internship in Washington, D.C., Jeremy became interested in working for the FBI.

"That was one of his main reasons for going into the Marines," Duane said, adding that Jeremy learned a military background was beneficial.

Jeremy, who was an honors student in high school and college, also considered attending law school, his family said.

"He was a smart kid. He was destined to do something like that," Sherry said.

Jeremy enlisted about one year before that fateful day in Iraq.

"He felt it was what he needed to do for his career and his country," Sherry said.

"He was very proud to be a Marine. You could tell by how he put his uniform on."

Jeremy went to Parris Island, S.C., for boot camp. He spent Christmas 2005 with his family and wed Clara in the spring. In June 2006 he received orders to deploy as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

His company, the Weapons Company First Battalion 24th Marines of Perrsyburg, left for Fallujah, Iraq, in September 2006. There Jeremy was stationed at Camp Baharia and worked as an armorer, making sure the company's guns were cleaned and serviced.

During that time Jeremy stayed in touch with his family through phone calls, letters and e-mails. But after two short months, he was gone.

"It's just a lot different than finding out that someone has been in a car accident," Duane said. "He told me, 'Dad, if I go into the military I'm going to be No.1.' That's the type of kid he was. If he was going to do something he was going to go all the way with it."

When Jeremy's body was brought back to his hometown, thousands lined the streets holding candles in the fallen Marine's memory.

"You go through it and you try to be the sounding board, unfortunately, for each family that goes through it," Sherry said.

Despite their own tragedy, the Shock family remains supportive of those still serving.

"For these guys to join the Air Force, Navy in a time of war really speaks for their character," Duane said. "It takes a lot for a young man or woman to do that."

Just last month the family hosted a fundraiser for the Jeremy Shock Lighting Fund. To date $108,000 has been raised to install outdoor lights at the Green Springs Community Park baseball diamond, where Jeremy used to play.

"I don't want anybody to ever forget what my son has done. When those lights turn on for the first time, everybody will know when those lights are there and why they're there," she said. "They're there because someone gave their life."