The day before he was killed in a roadside bombing in Iraq, Sgt. David Jones Sr., of Augusta, wrote a last letter to his wife, Karen, and their two children.
Near the end of that letter, dated July 29, he reminded them that serving his country as a member of the 48th Brigade was a choice he was willing to make.
"This is a part of who I am," he wrote.
During his funeral today , the 45-year-old Richmond County deputy jailer was honored as a man with many families, including relatives, sheriff's office colleagues, fellow soldiers and members of his close-knit congregation at Columbia County Christian Church.
"His life was one that was well-lived," the Rev. Mike Klaus said. "His wife and children are a testament to that."
Sgt. Jones was as enthusiastic about his faith and his family as he was in pursuing his other interests, which included Civil War re-enactments and history.
"He was a master of facts and trivia. He loved the history of the world, the history of this country and military history," the Rev. Klaus said. "And if he were to speak to you here today, he would tell you one thing: that God is real."
The Rev. Marshall Bender, who also officiated at the funeral, reminded those who gathered in the crowded sanctuary that Sgt. Jones valued both his service to God and his service to country. It takes a special person to travel across the world as part of his willingness to lay down his life to win freedom for people he never met, the Rev. Bender said.
"What David did was not in vain, and anybody who says otherwise is wrong," he said.
Sgt. Jones, buried at Hillcrest Memorial Park with military honors, was the second local soldier killed recently in Iraq. Sgt. James Kinlow, 32, of Thomson, was killed July 24 by a massive underground bomb.
The 48th Brigade includes about 2,700 soldiers from across Georgia, augmented by about 1,600 from Alabama, Illinois, Missouri, Maryland, Rhode Island and Puerto Rico.
Reach Rob Pavey at 868-1222, ext. 119, or firstname.lastname@example.org.