Fallen Marine Returns Home from Iraq

1 decade 2 years 1 month ago Thursday, March 29 2007 Mar 29, 2007 Thursday, March 29, 2007 4:45:38 PM CDT March 29, 2007 in News

Marine Lance Cpl. Leon Deraps, 19, died May 6 in Iraq when his humvee hit a roadside bomb.

His death was extra hard for Jake Campbell because he lost his best friend.

"Leon was just the greatest guy you would ever meet," Campbell said. "There wasn't one person that didn't like him. He was friends with everybody. He was always doing something, playing sports or something, just always having fun, always smiling."

Most remember Deraps as a fun-loving, outgoing, happy person, well-known in the community. He was voted prom king his senior year at Jamestown high, was active in Eagle Scouts, and competed in baseball and track. After graduation in 2005, Deraps began training for the Marine Corps.

"We're devastated," high school coach Kirby Baumert said. "We lost one of our own. The war has come to mid-Missouri, and we're just hoping for the best for his family and for the rest of us."

His classmates set up a plaque in front of the school to honor Deraps. Friends want to raise money for the family by selling shirts dedicated to him.

Visitation ends at 8 p.m. Tuesday in the high school. The funeral is at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Cedron Catholic Church.

"He was just an all-around great guy," Jeff Gerlach said. "He wasn't perfect, but he was close."

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