A soldier from West Peoria is dead following a boating accident.
Jamanni “Jay” Gibson and another soldier were kayaking during free time on a lake at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Washington.
Military emergency personnel received a report of missing kayakers and recovered the bodies.
Gibson is a 2015 graduate of Manual Academy, graduating in the top 10 in his class and as a co-captain of the speech team.
Gibson’s speech team coach Anthony Kramer said, “He was what every parent wants their son to be like and what every teacher wants their student to be like.”
He attended the University of Illinois at Chicago before enlisting in the army. He served as a motor transport operator for the 2nd Batallion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division. He was awarded the Army Achievement Medal.
Members of his division say it is a tragedy to lose a teammate and they are trying to get through a difficult time.
“Our deepest condolences go out to the soldiers’ families. The entirety of the 7th Infantry Division mourns the loss of these soldiers and honors their service to the nation.” Major General Willard Burleson III, Commanding General of the 7th Infantry Division, says.
Gibson was also a participant and scholarship recipient of the Hope Renewed Conference.
Jay is gone for now, but many are already looking for ways to keep his legacy alive through the hallways of Manual.
“There’s gonna be a Jamanni Gibson scholarship, there’s gonna be something to remember that he was here,” said Sherry Cannon.
The U.S. Army continues to investigate the deaths.
Loved ones have set up a memorial fund to help with the cost of his burial, you can click here to donate.