COLUMBIA — Pfc. Jason D. Fingar lived a short life but touched the hearts of those who knew him.
Mr. Fingar died Saturday, May 22, 2010, at the age of 24. He was serving in Durai, Afghanistan, when a roadside bomb hit his military vehicle.
Mr. Fingar was born on Nov. 7, 1985. He lived with his family in Columbia before enlisting in the United States Army on Sept. 17, 2008, and receiving his initial training at Fort Knox, Ky. In early 2009, Mr. Fingar reported to Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington and was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.
He was deployed to Afghanistan in July 2009. He was set to return home June 30.
“He was really excited that this deployment was almost over and that he’d get to come home,” said Spc. Corey Phan, a member of Mr. Fingar’s platoon.
Mr. Fingar would have received a specialist rank on the first of June, Phan said. He had already received multiple awards and decorations for his service in the Army including the National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, NATO Medal and Driver and Mechanic Badge.
Spc. Aaron Estabrook shared a barrack at Fort Knox with Mr. Fingar.
“I will always remember Jason Fingar as a young man of remarkable integrity and endless courage,” Estabrook said. “Even in his brief life he made the world a better place, and those that encountered his smile will never forget him.”
Jason Poff, a Salvation Army pastor in Joplin and friend of ten years said Mr. Fingar had a way of finding joy in any situation and making people laugh.
“He genuinely cared about people and he genuinely put other people first,” Poff said. “He just loved life. And he loved everything that he did.”
Friends reflected on Mr. Fingar’s love of music. He played the guitar and piano, and wanted to learn to play others, too. Phan said Mr. Fingar and the other members of the platoon were always talking about guitars.
“He and his dad both played guitar over at the Salvation Army,” neighbor Danette Knedler said. “His dad had a guitar waiting for him for when he came home.”
Shannon Forney said she is glad Mr. Fingar knew God. She said people never think a death like this will happen to someone they know.
“I’m sure, at the funeral, the amount of people whose life he touched is going to be overwhelming,” Forney said.
Mr. Fingar's body is expected to arrive at the Columbia Regional Airport at 3 p.m. Knedler is asking people to line the procession route from the airport to Memorial Garden by standing along Highway 63 and in Cosmo Park.
Mr. Fingar is survived by his parents, David and Rhonda Fingar of Columbia; sister, Chrissey Dodd of Naplate, Ill.; brothers Jeremy Fingar of Chicago, and U.S. Army Sgt. Donald Fingar of Ft. Riley, Kan.; his grandmother, Peggy Dietz of Calhoun; and two nieces and one nephew.
Services will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, May 31, 2010, at the Salvation Army Columbia Corps and Worship Center, 1108 W. Ash St. Graveside services will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery, 1217 Business Loop 70 W. Visitation will be Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Salvation Army Columbia Corps and Worship Center.
Memorials may be sent in lieu of flowers in memory of Jason Fingar to the Salvation Army Music Scholarship Fund, 1108 West Ash, Columbia, MO 65203.
Tributes may also be left online at memorialfuneralhomeandcemetary.com.