LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Sergeant Jamie Jarboe was injured by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan last April.
He died Wednesday morning in a Kansas hospital.
Jarboe was a 2003 graduate of Frankfort Senior High School.
NewsChannel 18's Dan Klein had an emotional interview with Jarboe's widow Melissa Wednesday night and has more on the family's story.
In just about three weeks, it would be the one-year anniversary of Jamie Jarboe's injuries sustained on a battlefield in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
His wife Melissa is far more thankful for a much more important anniversary the couple celebrated together this year on Valentine's Day.
Melissa Jarboe said she treasures every moment in the last 11 months she got to spend in a hospital room with Jamie.
More than six months ago, they were preparing for the worst.
"We were actually told in August to prepare Jamie to be buried, that he wouldn't make it through the weekend," said Melissa.
But miraculously, that Monday, Jamie woke up.
And the struggle to make him healthy again continued.
"Jamie told me that he didn't want to die and I did whatever it took to make sure my husband didn't die," said Melissa.
The sniper's bullet paralyzed Jarboe from the waist down.
Melissa said she sought specialist after specialist to try to make him better, but in the end, various complications and infections were just too much to overcome.
So several weeks ago, she brought him to the couple's home state of Kansas where several dozen Patriot riders escorted him from the airport to the hospital.
Jamie couldn't believe it.
"It was breathtaking and refreshing. Jamie said he didn't understand why people thought he was a hero. He was just Sergeant Jamie Jarboe. He did what thousands of other soldiers did."
Valentine's Day was the couple's one-year anniversary.
Melissa said she has no regrets. The time in the hospital, although not ideal, was something she wouldn't trade for the world.
"So the last 11 months, they were priceless."
There was another positive about returning to Kansas. It allowed Jamie to spend lots of time with Melissa's two daughters from a previous relationship, Celestial, 14, and Alexa, 6.
Melissa said it was a special time for the family. Alexa could come in before school and show off to her daddy her new reading skills. Celestial could come in after school and do her homework with him and have a family dinner in the hospital room.
"He could finally be that father he always wanted to be," said Melissa. "It's something he strived for. That's one reason why he persevered so much because he wanted to be that husband and that father. That's what meant so much to him."
In December, Melissa said they met a 12-year-old boy named Aaron who became part of the family. The couple decided to adopt him, and Melissa is continuing the process even after Jamie's death. Jamie's funeral is set for March 31 in Topeka, Kansas.
As per Jamie's wishes, Melissa is planning a memorial for Jamie in Indiana with a time and date to be announced later.
As reported Wednesday night, Melissa is extremely thankful and appreciative of all the support from people the greater Lafayette and Frankfort areas over the last eleven months.
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