'It affects us all': Hundreds pay respects to fallen Army Ranger in Leavenworth
LEAVENWORTH, Wash. -- There were tributes and plenty of tears in Leavenworth on Sunday as hundreds of people gathered to say goodbye to Sgt. Leandro A.S. Jasso.
Jasso, an Army Ranger, was killed in Afghanistan late last month while serving on his third deployment.
During his service at Cascade High School, Jasso was remembered as a warrior and a man with a smiling face and kind, caring personality.
"Lando was an excellent teacher on how to find and follow your bliss," teacher Andrea Brixey told the crowd of mourners that had gathered inside the school's gym.
"Jasso knew exactly what he was and exactly what he stood for," added Sgt. Brian Kaniuka, second Ranger Battalion.
Prior to the service, hundreds gathered along U.S. 2 to watch as Jasso's casket was transported from East Wenatchee to his hometown of Leavenworth.
As snowflakes fell, members of Bavarian Brass filled the air with music as cars and trucks passed by.
The sidewalks around them slowly turned into a sea of red, white and blue flags.
"We were lucky that my grandfather came home and was able to spend 89 years with us, but others – they’re not. That’s why we come out here and stand here," said Kesha Milne, whose grandfather served in World War II.
Milne came to pay respects to Jasso with her three boys.
Jasso's death has affected the entire community.
"He was such a good, good young man. And so funny. He was a great kid. And to think we’ll never see him again is just a tragedy," said Scott Ennis. "There’s not a soul here that doesn’t know Lando and what happened. So, it affects us all."
The wind picked up just enough to wave Ennis’s flag as bright, flashing lights emerged off in the distance.
Seeing his long-time friend pass by brought Tyler Harrod and his family to silence.
"I was kinda just in a daze driving up here. Just kinda thinking how the day was going to go," Harrod said. "He was an awesome guy. You couldn’t get him mad. You couldn’t. He was just one of the nicest guys in the world."
Harrod’s presence along the procession route Sunday was as much to show respect as it was to let Jasso’s family know their community loves and supports them.
"It’s a great honor to go out and fight for our country, but you know – there is a great loss," Milne said.
That thought crossed her mind knowing her oldest son is considering his own career in the military.
"It's nervous, but I would be proud," she said while holding back tears.
She feels pride for anyone who’s willing to stand up and serve their country.
Jasso did with honor.
"He’ll be missed, and he was doing this for good reason.