LEAVENWORTH, Wash. - On Monday, a Leavenworth high school took a moment of silence for an American hero with local ties.
Before Sgt. Leandro Jasso braved the front lines of war in Afghanistan, he left his mark at Cascade High School.
“It’s fascinating - it makes you pay attention when someone that special is willing to give his life,” former teacher Andrea Brixey said.
The 25 year-old Army Ranger known to friends as Lando died in combat after coming across enemy fire in Afghanistan on Saturday. It was his third tour in Afghanistan. He was a part of supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.
“Crazy to hear this happened - never expected it,” close friend Logan Murphy said.
Murphy says Jasso was like a little brother to him, someone who was humble around his friends and loving to his family.
“He was his nephew’s whole world, just a good heart in that sense,” Murphy said.
A good heart and one that was not easily deterred from what he wanted to do.
“He’s good at 90 percent of the things he put his mind to," Murphy said. "He’s always been good at that."
“He was an irrepressible human being who was often the most intelligent and charismatic man in the room,” Brixey said.
That’s why some believe the high school wrestler managed to move up in the ranks in the Army quickly, receiving nearly a dozen awards and decorations along the way.
The loss in the small town is palpable, with first responders at nearby fire department showing their respect by lowering their flag to half staff.
The principal of Cascade High School says their goal as a community now is to rally around the soldier’s family.
“You're heavy in our hearts. I want to make sure we are here to support you guys,” Principal Elia Ala’ilima-Daley said.
Daley says Jasso’s death is a reminder that there are men and women still fighting in dangerous conditions overseas. To not forget the silent sacrifices of those in the military and their families.
“You always hear about this on the national news, but it’s pretty shocking. I think a lot of people are still shocked here in town,” Daley said.
Jasso was based out of JBLM before heading to Afghanistan. His parents were in Dover, Del. on Monday to receive his remains.