Streetsboro native killed in Iraq

Lisa Hlavinka

Streetsboro native Jason Hernandez was killed by a roadside bomb early Friday morning in Iraq. Hernandez grew up in Streetsboro and graduated from Streetsboro High School in 2005, principal Jim Montaquila said.

Montaquila said joining the army was a life-long dream of Hernandez’s, and he was “very proud” to be a member of the U.S. Army.

“This brings the war in Iraq up close and personal,” Montaquila said. “You read in the newspapers and see on television the number of people killed in action, but they are just numbers until it happens here, in your hometown.”

Montaquila was informed of the soldier’s death this morning by Hernandez’s mother, who drove to the school to pick up her younger son, Aaron, to tell him the news.

Aaron, a football player, is to serve as honorary team captain at tonight’s football game. There will also be a fireworks display and moment of silence for Hernandez, said Kevin Grimm of the Streetsboro Fire Department.

Hernandez’s friend, Jesse Ibana, 25, remembers him as a funny, outgoing young man who got along with everybody. Hernandez and Ibana worked together at Roadhouse restaurant on state Route 303 in Streetsboro.

“It really is such a shame,” said Ibana. “There are so many people this affects. I mean, he was very well known around Streetsboro. He grew up here.”

Ibana last saw Hernandez about a year ago. Hernandez had recently married and the two built a new camaraderie before Hernandez went to Iraq.

“Everybody was so upset with him going to Iraq, waiting for him to come back,” he said. “Then you hear this, and it’s just such a downer.”

The Department of Defense has not released an official report of Hernandez’s death.

Contact public affairs reporter Lisa Hlavinka at [email protected].