Services Friday for Wisconsin soldier - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Services Friday for Wisconsin soldier

HAZEL GREEN (WKOW) -- Family and friends of  Staff Sgt. Jesse Grindey will gather for his funeral Friday. 

The Deparment of Defense reported that the 30-year-old military policeman died on March 12 in Kandahar Province in Afghanistan but have not released any other details. The U.S. Army is still investigating how he died.

Family and friends gathered on Tuesday in Hazel Green to honor Grindey.

A motorcade traveled from Dubuque through Hazel Green, before reaching its final destination, the Haudenschield Funeral Home in Cuba City.

Children got out of school and hundreds paid tribute to Grindey.

"If you needed something, he'd always be there to help out. He was happy-go-lucky. Always trying  to get along with everybody and he did," said Dean Pearce, second assistant fire chief in Hazel Green.

"I've lived here all my life. I took care of Jesse, played ball and coached him when he was a little kid," said Jim Colbe, the public  works director. 

Grindey graduated from Southwestern High School in 2001. 

Before joining the army in 2002, Grindey volunteered with the rescue squad and the fire department in Hazel Green.

"Everyone's being nice about this. He was a squirrely little red-headed kid with floppy ears, but there's nothing this kid wouldn't do for you," Colbe said.

2,200 flags covered the entire stretch of Hazel Green in red, white and blue thanks to Larry Eckhardt, known simply as "The Flag Man."

"To me it's the least we can do. Without men like Jesse and the ones before him, we wouldn't have any of our freedoms," Eckhardt said.

"Probably the best traveled flags right here," Pearce said.

Just another sign of the impact Grindey had on the village.

"He will always be remembered in Hazel Green as a good guy, a good father and a good fireman," Pearce said.

Grindey leaves behind a wife and two young children.

Late Tuesday night, the Grindey family issued a statement saying it "wishes to express their heart felt appreciation for the support in bringing SSgt. Grindey home.  Words cannot express adequately our appreciation and outpouring of support."

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