Hundreds of people packed the Nazarene Church to pay tribute and say a prayer for fallen Marine Jared Verbeek. His life touched not only family and friends in town, but people all across California.
People were still and silent as several Marines brought 22-year-old Jared Verbeek's flag draped coffin into the Visalia Nazarene Church for his funeral service. Verbeek leaves behind his wife Vanessa, 18 month old son, Jacob and a large extended family. The media was not allowed inside the church for his service, but many shared with Action News the most touching moments from the ceremony.
Family friend, Guilleimina Cary said, "It was beautiful the way they expressed about his life. You know, he's a hero because every soldier is a hero giving their lives for our country."
Terri Hacobia said, "When the pastor gave the closing prayer I mean that hit me really hard about the long and lonely nights she's going to have."
Visalian Terri Hacobia and her 12 year old daughter Sonni didn't know Jared Verbeek, but were touched by his service and sacrifice and wanted to come to the Nazarene Church to pay their respects.
Sonni Hacobia said, "Someone out there you didn't know is fighting for you and then they passed away."
Verbeek was killed in Afghanistan last week by an improvised explosive device. When the blast happened Edward Lehman's 24 year old son, Gary, was just a few yards away.
Lehman said, "Show my support for my son. Jared was going to be in the wedding with him and he's planning on getting married when he gets back so this is very emotional especially having sons similar age."
Lehman says his son is still serving in Afghanistan and looked up to Jared Verbeek. "He very much respected Jared of all the Marines that he very talked highly of Jared was one of the ones he talked the most highly of the ones he's stationed over there with."
After the burial, 300 family and friends returned to the Nazarene Church for what family members call a "Celebration of Jared's Life"
The community really came out to support the family, with local businesses and restaurants paying for all the food, linens and other parts of the gathering.