A True Hero. Sgt. Jerry Antone Machado Jr.

I once had a great friend named Jerry. When we met we were freshmen in high school. We met through a common friend. Actually, she was helping me out with a pretty big dilemma. The dilemma was, I won our class Homecoming and I needed an escort, and fast. I met him before that through another mutual friend that we shared, but it was 2 years before, and back then we really didn't have much to say to one another. Well, anyway, from the moment that we met, he was always in my life. Whether it be on the phone talking for hours, or face to face, or even writing letters in between the exchange of class, we were always around for one another. Oh! and by the way, I forgot to mention that he was very handsome.
Well, you know how it can be for some friends after high school. But he and I still kept in touch. At one point in his life I had no choice but to close my doors "slightly" on him. He got involved in drugs, and it was the really, really, really bad kind if drug.... Meth! At that time he had pretty much burnt a lot of bridges, and he had contacted me asking for help. But I feared that if I took him in that my 2 babies, at the time was a newborn and 2 1/2, would be brought into that type of style and that wasn't even in the stars for my family. But at one point he came again and asked for help, help to kick the habit. But he knew that if he stayed here in Hawaii, he would be back on the drug in a day. So he asked me what did I think about him joining the service. At that time he thought that that would be the only way for him to get the help that he needed, and so I said, "If that is what you are prepared to do." He went to the Air Force recruiting office and they said that they would take him, but he had to wait for the next class in 4 weeks. Later that day he called me from the Marines Recruiting office. And they later called him that night, and told him to get his things in order and that he had less then a week. He went on to basic training, and graduated, and became a Marine. He went to 2 tours in this war, and he had a lot of close calls. But on his second time out, he wasn't feeling very good. They sent him from Afghanistan to Germany, took tests and sent him back home here to Tripler. His diagnosis, terminal cancer. I know all of this for the fact that I was told this story by a lot of his relatives, see, Jerry didn't want me to know about any of it. He kept it a a secret from me until the day he died. I felt like I was going to die, it hit me so hard, like a ton of bricks. Some people say that expression all the time, "Like a ton of bricks", but do they really express that feeling as a FEELING? I felt as though I let him down, and that I must be the kind of person that people feel a little intimidated by. Not the type of intimidation by my size, but by how strong I express my feelings. For a while I blamed myself. Blamed myself for not being a real friend when he needed me. And to be honest, sometimes, when I think about him, I kind of feel that way. But, truth be told, I know Jerry. I know that in the end all he would have wanted, would be for me and my family to be happy and safe. That is why my husband calls Jerry a TRUE HERO! Not just because he was a Marine, but because he was a boy that hit rock bottom, and became a Man and overcame so many conflicts in his life. At his funeral, my husband got down on one knee and cried. To him he felt that the world lost one of the greatest.
The one thing that I heard that made me so happy, is that in his final moments he had accepted God into his heart and now I know that I will be seeing my Brother again one day.
Jerry this is dedicated to you, for all the memories that you have shared with me through out the years. And the love that you shared with me was an honor and a privilege that I know I was one of the luckiest people to have met an angel on earth like you.

Always missed, but never forgotten...... I love you Jerry!*

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