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Lytton Springs soldier was… everything

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By LPR Staff
Editor/POST-REGISTER

Erica Gonzalez only used one word on Thursday evening to describe her husband, Jaime.

Everything.

“Jaime was more than a soldier,” Erica said. “He was a friend, he was a husband, he was a father… He was just awesome.”

Her quiet statement came only days after Erica learned that her husband, Sgt. J

aime Gonzalez, 40, had been killed in action in Afghanistan. After joining the Texas Army National Guard in November 2006, Sgt. Gonzales was called to active duty on Nov. 26, 2007. He volunteered to serve overseas in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

“I have to admit that I was upset with that decision,” Erica said. “But I knew this was something he believed in so strongly… He just felt like it was the right thing to do. And that gives me comfort, knowing that he knew this could happen, but he just knew that he was doing right. And he died with honor.”

Sgt. Gonzalez was on duty as part of a security team, and died after sustaining injuries when his convoy encountered an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) outside Kabul, Afghanistan. Though he held the rank of Specialist at the time of the incident, Gonzalez was posthumously promoted to Sergeant on the day of his death, Aug. 3.

He had last visited his family during a two-week leave in May.

“We did things a little bit backwards,” Erica said. “We dated for five years. We lived together. But we just got married on May 22.”

Married just over 10 weeks at the time of her husband’s death, Erica draws both comfort and peace from knowing that her husband had been saved through the love of Jesus Christ. She said she was drawing strength from his faith, and that her trust in God had not been shaken, despite the tragedy of her husband”s death.

“I have my own little ‘WWJD’ (What Would Jesus Do?) now. It’s ‘What would Jaime do?’” she said. “He would never let me be mad or upset about anything. If I woke up in a bad mood, he just wouldn’t let me stay mad. He was full of life, and so positive.”

Laughter, she said, ruled the house she and Jaime shared with their children, ranging in age from 7 to 16.

“I have my three kids, but he loved them and took them like they were his own, and we had his daughter, who I love as if she were mine,” she said. “So we were always laughing. Whether it was teenage drama, or the little ones fighting, we always found a way to laugh about it. He will be missed.”

Missing him, she said, will not be her burden to bear alone.

“I know this community respects and honors their soldiers,” she said. “And I don’t doubt this community mourns their soldiers.”

That closeness, she said, was one of the reasons she and Jaime decided to raise their children in the area.

“Jaime is from El Paso, but my family is from Lytton Springs,” Erica said. “We just loved this area, and we thought it would be a great place to raise our children.”

Prior to his service in the Texas Army National Guard, Sgt. Gonzalez served for six years on active duty in the United States Navy, and for two years in the U.S. Navy Reserves. According to Erica, two of his brothers also serve in the military at this time.

Services for Sgt. Gonzalez will be held in his native El Paso.

kathibliss@post-register

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