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Jody Wirawan was born on February 26, 1986 in Jakarta, Indonesia. He moved with his family to the U.S. not long after he was born and lived in Michigan and Texas before finally settling in Alaska at age 10.
Much of his childhood was spent homeless or in foster care, but he worked hard to stay in school and eventually graduated from Bartlett High and went on to attend the University of Alaska Anchorage.
He visited Ground Zero and the Pentagon with his foster family shortly after the 9/11 attacks and was deeply moved, inspiring him to serve his country in the Army after college.
Jody attended basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia where he excelled at being a soldier, getting the highest score in his unit on warrior skills and tasks as well as a perfect score on his mortar exams. Afterwards he was stationed in Fort Hood, Texas and his unit was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He served in Iraq for over a year as the armorer for his unit, a job he did with great dedication and pride.
Jody was the best brother and son anyone could ever ask for. He's an inspiration to those who knew him because despite facing countless hardships in life he still chose to be a kind and caring person. Even though he experienced much adversity in his own childhood he had wanted to be a foster father to six children and provide them with a loving home.
He came back from Iraq in 2008 and had planned to serve his community as an Alaska State Trooper after completing his enlistment with the Army. However, a few days before he was to return home he died in Killeen, Texas during an altercation at his apartment which ended with him shooting another soldier before turning the gun on himself.
He is survived by his father Joe Wirawan and mother Kitty Kohli; foster father Russell Pressley; sisters Anita Wirawan, Jennifer (Grattan) Wirawan, and Amelia "Tsunami" Wirawan; and brother Nabil "Barry" Wirawan.
He was preceded in death by his beloved grandmother Florence Kohli.