Cypress Lake High School honors fallen Marine

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A native Fort Myers resident killed in a U.S. Marine training exercise was honored Saturday in a memorial dedication ceremony a year after his death.

Cpl. Thomas “Tommy” Jardas was one of 12 people killed in a helicopter crash off the Hawaiian island of Oahu in January 2016.

Family, friends and local businesses raised $35,000 for a memorial to be built at Cypress Lake High School, Jardas’ alma mater.

The ceremony included performances by the Guns n Hoses Pipes n Drums, as well as the Cypress Lake dance team and jazz band. The school also presented a scholarship in his name.

“He always wanted to be there to help people, to serve people,” said Beth Haely, Jardas’ mother. “He was such a genuine spirit and had a great sense of humor.”

As a student, Jardas was a cadet in the JROTC program and an anchor for the school’s TV station, Haely said.

The memorial is 1,500 square feet and includes a flagpole, benches and flowers.

Reporter:Taylor Bisacky