Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Cortland/Ithaca

Fallen soldier remembered

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Fallen soldier remembered
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A local soldier was remembered Thursday night after his death while serving in Afghanistan. YNN's Chris Whalen has more on the somber service.

TIOGA CENTER, N.Y. -- Justin Rogers was a husband, father, son and friend among many others, but regardless of how loved ones knew the 25-year-old, he was the kind of person that brought joy to those around him.

The slow, melancholy tone of taps fell over the ears of more than a hundred mourners in Tioga County on Thursday, remembering the life of Sergeant Justin Rogers.

Rogers, a Barton native and a 2007 graduate of Tioga Central, leaves behind a wife and a daughter and many other family members, but the heart of the entire community is heavy with grief.

"Our hearts still ache in sadness and secret tears still flow, what it meant to lose you. No one will ever know," said Pastor Jon Austin.

Rogers, affectionately known as 'Jutt' to those who knew him, was a member of Tioga's football and wrestling teams. His former coaches say he was an ideal role model.

"He was a shining example of what it meant to set goals, work hard, dedicate yourself and earn your own success," said Josh Roe, one of Rogers' former coaches.

A 25 minute video tribute aimed to sum up Rogers' 25 years of life, but those closest to him say there was so much more to this life cut short.

"I think when you stop and look at how many facets of Jutt there are, from soldier to family to friends, you realize the only other thing I know of in nature that have that many facets are things like diamonds and rubies and they're gems. They last forever. Jutt will too," said another one of Rogers' former coaches, James Howey.

Tissues dabbed away tears as Rogers received his final salute, but after the grief passes, it will be tears of joy that come along with remembering 'Jutt.'

"It may be with a heavy heart today, but somewhere in the future, that same memory is going to pop up while you're driving, or sitting there watching TV and a big smile is going to come across your face."

With a smile is exactly how those closest to Rogers say he would have wanted everyone to remember him. He'll be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

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