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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – An airman from South Florida has died while serving overseas – and now, his former teachers and classmates are remembering him.
“He had an impact on almost every teacher that had the pleasure of having him in the classroom,” said teacher Xiomara Disla.
Former teachers and students at Miami South Ridge High School are mourning the loss of Airman 1st Class Darrick Jones, who died Monday.
“He went to South Korea and we don’t know what happened. And that’s like hard because the unknown,” said teacher Tania Dias.
According to the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, where Jones was assigned, the 23-year-old was on temporary assignment to train allies in the Republic of Korea when he collapsed and died.
Airmen with Jones at the time immediately rendered aid but were unable to revive him.
“It’s a blow, not only because he’s our student, he’s our kid. They become our kids,” said Dias. “He deserves all this recognition but not in this way.”
At South Ridge, Jones was a member of the cross country and track team, took AP classes and was in every honor society possible.
He’s being remembered for his big heart and his school spirit, always wearing his school colors – black and red.
“Every single picture he has in the yearbook, someone’s on his shoulder at the pep rally. He’s at every football game,” Dias said.
Jones’ heartbroken teachers say they can’t imagine what his family is going through.
“My thing for the family is reach out to the military family that he made and you will be amazed by what they’re going to do to help you through this because you need people to lean on during this time,” said Disla.