‘He’s got a big heart.’ U.S. Marine receives love, support from his former Oklahoma teachers as he recovers from Afghanistan attack

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GRACEMONT, Okla. (KFOR) – The former Oklahoma school of a U.S. Marine is sending its support after he was recently injured during an Afghanistan attack.

LCpl. Jacob Bear graduated from Gracemont High School as valedictorian in 2019. He then got to achieve a lifelong dream of becoming a Marine.

“He always said that joining the Marines was his goal,” said high school English teacher Crystal Dyer. “I always knew that was his plan after high school.”

She says many of the teachers weren’t aware of his condition until a few weeks ago.

“We didn’t know he was in Afghanistan until we found out he was injured,” Dyer said. “We’re all thinking about [him] and hoping for a speedy recovery.”

Bear came to Gracemont in eighth grade from Anadarko. One of his former teachers, Jan Bailey, taught him in first grade at Anadarko Elementary. She says she knew, even then, that he’d make a great leader.

“In first grade there’s always a lot of clowning around, but Jacob was not one that was like that,” she said. “When I found out that he was going into the service, I understood why. I knew he was going to make a tremendous [marine] because he’s got a big heart.”

Photo goes with story
LCpl. Jacob Bear. Courtesy: Emily Allen

The two got to reunite when she started teaching at Gracemont.

“I didn’t know he was here until he came over to the grade school one day and I realized who it was,” she said. “I was like, ‘Aren’t you Jacob?’ and he said yes, and he knew me too, and we bonded that way again.”

Both teachers say they don’t know when Jacob and his family will make their way back to Gracemont, but students have already expressed interest in showing their appreciation

“From the kids, we wanted to send all cards, the whole school – grade school, high school – we were gonna send it to him,” Bailey said.

The superintendent also told KFOR that if the family approved, they’d give him a hero’s welcome with a police escort.

Whenever he does return, they’ll be ready to welcome him with open arms.

“I just wanna tell him that they’re in our thoughts and prayers,” Bailey said. “We hope to goodness he comes home soon so that we can go see him and hug his neck.”

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