LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A memorial service on Thursday evening at the Dyess Air Force base in Abilene honored the lives of four airmen who died in a military plane crash in Afghanistan last week.
One of the airmen, Captain Jordan Pierson, was from Lubbock.
His family sent this message after the service:
"Jordan Pierson is an amazing and caring man, a wonderful husband, and an excellent pilot. He is loved by his family, his friends, and his peers. He is a hero to everyone who knew him. We will always be proud of him for pursuing his passion for flying."
It's been ten years since Jordan walked the halls at Coronado High School, but his character still inspires many who work here.
"Our secretary sent an email to all the teachers and coaches and anyone that would've remembered," said Coronado coach Joe Welborn.
The campus was shocked and saddened at the loss.
"[It read] the plane crash in Afghanistan has taken on of ours...," said Coronado teacher Tommy Heisser.
They matched Pierson's name to a face they have not seen in a decade.
"When you have taught as long as I have in one place and you have the opportunity to meet a lot of different kids, you don't always remember their names or their faces," Heisser, "but Jordan, I do remember."
Before Jordan graduated in 2005, he played football under Welborn.
"He was a quiet kid, but I remember he was a good athlete and a hardworking kid who didn't miss workouts, just worked hard during off season and during the season and just did his job," Welborn said. "He accepted his role and did it the very best he could. With any team you need those kids who do their job every day the best they can."
This is an impression Jordan made even off the field in Heisser's classroom.
"He was a very nice man, very respectful," Heisser said. "I remember having a conversation with him at least one time where he talked about when he graduated, he wanted to serve and I remember he and I talking about that doesn't always mean the military…but he wanted to be of service to people and he chose the military and he did. He served his country."
So it came as no surprise to these educators when they heard Pierson went to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and eventually became a pilot to serve his country.
"I did remember him saying this is what he wanted to do," Heisser said, "and so perhaps dying in that way, serving his country…he is probably okay with that."
Both men agree that Jordan's legacy teaches a lesson of sacrifice.
After this tragedy, Tommy plans to bring Pierson's inspiration into his classroom.
"That's how we have become such a wonderful country, is our willingness to serve others and sacrifice," Heisser said, "and Jordan epitomizes that, that's what he lived for…that's what he died for."