RUSCOMBMANOR TWP., Pa. - Dozens gathered to honor a fallen Berks County soldier during a special highway dedication ceremony Friday morning.
The "Chief Warrant Officer-2 Jarett M. Yoder Highway" was formally announced around 10 a.m., off of Route 662 in Ruscombmanor Township.
"It means a lot that everyone's remembering him," said Gary Yoder, the fallen soldier's father.
"We don't want Jarett to be forgotten and I think it's fantastic the way the community's come forward," said Diane Yoder, his mother.
Diane, joined by her son's widow, Heather, unveiled one of three road signs before the crowd. The sign is now one of three standing between Fleetwood and Oley Township.
"We hope that it serves as a testament to his sacrifice and serves as a place of honor where Jarrett will always be remembered," said Senator Judy Schwank, who spoke along with other state officials and Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers who served with Yoder.
"He was just simply a great man and a friend," Major Randy Lutz told the crowd.
Yoder, 26, was a Brecknock Township native and Oley Valley High School graduate. He died in April 2013 when his Apache helicopter crashed in Afghanistan.
"He gave his all. He was just a wonderful person, a husband, a son and a soldier," said Colonel State Aviation Officer Dave Wood.
Loved ones told 69 News that Yoder had dreamed of becoming a pilot since childhood. He was described as an energetic leader.
"He was just someone who really cared about our country, cared about family, friends, and he would go above and beyond with anything that he wanted to do," his father told 69 News. "We were always quite proud of him and we still continue to be proud of him."
In order to honor their son, the Yoder family has created the Jarett Yoder Foundation, which provides assistance to veterans and their families.
"We're gonna… provide emergency help for soldiers in dire need," said Diane Yoder.
Prior to developing the foundation, she said the family provided 18 scholarships to veterans through the Jarett Yoder Scholarship Fund.
"It's our way of thanking the community for remembering our son," she said.
In order to raise funds, the family has arranged for the 2nd Annual Golf Tournament scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 27 at the Golden Oaks Country Club in Fleetwood. Inquiries can be sent to P.O. BOX 139, Oley, PA, 19547.
Allentown, PA 18102