FORT MYERS FLA. -- Through candle lights, personal stories and emotion more than a hundred people came here to Cypress Lake High School to celebrate the life of Thomas Jardas.
A sea full of candle lights held by hand and sitting by photos of a friend, loved one and son. A son whose father is hardly healing from the loss. "Without our faith, I would've driven off a cliff by now," said Jardas' father. A Lee County Sheriffs Office chopper flew overhead to honor Jardas who died in a helicopter crash while training with the Marines. "It was decided that it would be appropriate, he loved the helicopter," said Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott.
Flying was a passion of the 22-year old who died doing what he loves. "With the Marine core and what he did when he was on that helicopter he knew how much he loved it, we knew how much he loved it," said Eden Shelton.
Finding the words to describe their fallen friend weren't easy for those who knew him best. But when they did find them they all agreed on the legacy he's left.
"I asked Tommy one time why he wanted to be in the Marines and he said because he wanted to be a hero," said his close friend Christina Carrieri. "Tommy Jardas was a hero. He's touched so many lives, he saved so many lives and with what he did for a living it shows," said another friend, Eden Shelton.
With bowed heads and emotions running high through the night the vigil ended in joy, smiles, and the man they loved in their hearts. The funeral for Jardas will be held Monday at 3pm at St Colmubkille church.