Friends of 2nd Lt. Jered Ewy remembered the former gymnastics coach as a warm and friendly man who instilled discipline as he taught.
“He was one of those people that you didn't have to know him a long time for him to leave a lasting impression,” Kristen Squires said.
Ewy, 33, of Edmond, and Spc. Augustus J. Vicari, 22, of Broken Arrow, were killed Friday by an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Janak Kheyl, in eastern Afghanistan, according to the Department of Defense.
Ewy's wife, Megan, was in Maryland on Sunday night awaiting the arrival of his body at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, cousin and family spokesman Andy Burnett said.
She was not available for comment.
Ewy enlisted in the Army Rangers in 1998 and was one of the first troops on the ground in Afghanistan after Sept. 11, 2001. He served three tours of duty and joined the Army National Guard immediately after leaving the Rangers. He earned a bachelor's in criminal justice from the University of Central Oklahoma and graduated from Officer Candidate School with the rank of second lieutenant in January, Burnett said.
Ewy and Megan were married in 2009, and their daughter, Kyla, was born in June. Ewy was stationed in South Carolina when his wife went into labor.
“He got on the first flight he could and made it all the way back here. He got here literally 15 minutes before his daughter was delivered and got to spend about three days at home with her and his family and then that was it. He flew out,” Burnett said.
“He never complained. He was going to miss the entire first year of his daughter's life and he never complained about it,” he said.
“Jered served all of us,” Burnett said.
Instead of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in the name of Megan and Kyla Ewy with the Bank of America.
Squires and Dena Edwards, both of Edmond, said they met and befriended Ewy when he coached their children in gymnastics at Oklahoma Gold in Edmond until 2006.
“He had already served and then he came back and coached. He coached our boys while he was back and he'd already been to Afghanistan,” Squires said.
“He was coaching gymnastics while he was still in college. Gym was just kind of a side job while he could finish up school,” Edwards said.
Ewy returned to active duty after finishing his college degree, Edwards said.
“I think the military was pretty much where his heart lie,” she said.
Edwards said she attended Ewy's wedding in 2009, and Megan Ewy also had coached at Oklahoma Gold, Edwards said.
“He just really cared and took an active role in our lives. We really expected that he would be a part of our lives forever,” she said.
Fond of snakes
Squires and Edwards both recalled Ewy's affinity for reptiles, and especially snakes. At one time, he had bred snakes and was also an avid hunter, Edwards said.
“He was big into snakes and reptiles when he was coaching our boys. He would come and do birthday parties. It was probably the best birthday party I've had for my youngest son,” Squires said.
“He was great with the kids. He didn't just want to teach them gymnastics. He wanted to teach them life lessons as well,” Squires said.
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