Meet our sixth Hero, Army SFC. Ofren Arrechaga. Sgt. Arrechaga married Seana Minikhiem on September 1, 2007 and shortly thereafter deployed to Iraq for the third time. When he returned home for R&R he and Seana welcomed the birth of their new son Alston into the world on March 28, 2008. Ofren then returned to [...]
Raised for most of his childhood in Perryville and Jackson, Missouri, Staff Sergeant Jedidiah “Jay” Vermillion, USMC always thought he would become a Marine. His grandfather was a Marine, fighting in the epic battle on Iwo Jima during World War II. His dad was also a Marine, fighting through the jungles of Vietnam. There was, however, one hurdle to his goal of following in the footsteps of his personal heroes – his father telling him that he could do anything in this life….except become a Marine. So, Jay continued his teenage life, including as a star linebacker on the high school football team (earning a scholarship to Frostburg State University in Maryland), putting any thoughts of becoming a Marine out of his current plans, but never out of sight.
In August, 1999, SSGT Vermillion could not ignore his calling as a Marine any longer. He joined the Marine Corps because his father and grandfather were his heroes and he wanted to be just like them—Marines through and through who always conducted themselves as Marines. His first deployment came not long after the attacks of 9/11. On a patrol in Al Fallujah, Iraq in 2005, SSGT Vermillion was hit by a “triple stack IED,” – -three 105mm artillery shells. Later in that tour of duty, SSGT Vermillion was hit again by another IED. At the early stages in the long war on terror, traumatic brain injuries were not given the attention they deserved. At the time, it was considered normal to have severe headaches and other side effects of an explosion. If the Marine could walk, they might be allowed to rest for a week, but then they were put back into the fight because all available warriors were needed in those days, and continue to bring the fight to the enemy is exactly what SSGT Vermillion did. In 2010, SSGT Vermillion was the Platoon Sergeant in charge of his detachment during a second combat tour, this time in Afghanistan. During a vehicle mounted patrol on July 13, 2010, in Marjah, Afghanistan, SSGT’s Vermillion’s vehicle was hit with an improvised explosive device (IED) comprised of 100 pounds of homemade explosives. He was thrown head first into the back of his vehicle and lost consciousness. His vehicle was so damaged, and SSGT Vermillion in such a bad condition, that those who initially came to his rescue assumed that he had been killed. Showing the bravery and determination that drives him to this day, Jay fought for his life and survived this incredible blast.
Jay is supported in his recovery by a beautiful family. His wife Mackinzie is his rock, even as she fights through her own battle with leukemia. Jay also gains strength from his loving children, Jedidiah, Cole, and Lyla, who all have learned so much about honor, bravery, strength, and perseverance, from their dad.
Jay, Mackinzie, Jedidiah, Cole, and Lyla, we could not be more proud that you have become part of the JCS family and we are honored to welcome SSGT Vermillion, USMC as our 10th JCS Hero!
Keep up with Jay
We have been trying for sometime to get Jeremy admitted to the wonderful VA nursing home in Clarksville which is only 20 minutes from his parents’ home. Thanks to our Tennessee Commissioner of Veterans Affairs, Many-Bears Grinder, Jeremy is now there and doing so well. It is a state of the art facility with all […]
JCS/Nashville would like to thank Home Lift for their due diligence and exceptional service in building and installing a custom curved stairway lift for our 5th Hero, CW3 Jeremy Miller. Due to severe breathing problems, CW3 Miller had extreme difficulty ascending his stairway in his home. In fact, his wife, Cindy had to literally push [...]
Phoenix Textiles employees raised money to adopt two JCS families for Christmas. Phoenix has been a frequent supporter of JCS and our local heroes. This past Christmas the employees "paid" to decorate a Christmas tree in the office. That money was used to purchase gifts for two families. Thank you Phoenix employees for your continued [...]
KF Landscape crews provided free labor to help local JCS Hero remove shrubs and ornamental grass from his yard. Thank KF for your support of our Heroes.
A benefit was held Saturday September 9 at the Arnold VFW Post 2593. With an attendance of more than 250, the mostly Cleveland High School alums, danced, took 50/50 and raffle chances and bid on Silent Auction items to raise money for the Joshua Chamberlain Society. Through the efforts of the SSGT Ron Bozikis Memorial [...]
Phoenix Textile Employees Do It Again! Local O'Fallon company Phoenix Textiles, thru it's employees, raised over $1,800 dollars to help purchase a trailer for JCS hero Michael Shuster. Michael has been renting a trailer every couple of weeks to haul his mower to his moms house to mow for her. He is hoping with this [...]
McCarthy Building Company's "Heart Hats" have been working at the family home of Sgt. Michael Shuster for the last week. This group of volunteers was comprised of IT Department workers from all over the country. The team helped in finishing the basement, fixing and painting walls, replacing light fixtures and fans, and various other "to [...]
Elks Lodge #9 Second Annual BBQ Contest On Saturday, May 20th, the Elks Lodge hosted its second annual BBQ contest to benefit JCS. JCS has been the benefactor of several fundraisers by this lodge. We are grateful for the support of the Veterans Committee, and the members of Lodge #9. Thank you for your commitment to [...]
A local St. Louis company, Patriot Sunrooms, stepped up in a big way to support a JCS Hero. On Saturday, employees of Patriot Sunrooms volunteered to install all new windows, storm doors, and gutter guards in Josh Eckhoffs house. They also power washed the home and planted flowers. The materials and labor were generously donated. […]