MOORE, Okla. (KFOR) – On this Memorial Day, the Moore American Legion and VFW chose to honor someone who embodied what it means to be “Moore Strong.”
Sgt. Taylor Lewis, or as his friends called him “Big Lew,” died less than a month ago in an accident at Vance Air Force Base.
Honoring a young marine was a first for the folks at the Moore American Legion, saying in the past they’ve honored an older World War 2 or Vietnam veteran.
“We’ve never done a young marine like this and so soon after they passed,” said Michael Devenitch, Commander – Post 184 – Moore.
Lewis passed at only 26 years old.
“He always made someone feel welcome he’d sit with the person that was alone, he’d smile at the person across the room he was just a very kind giving loving person,” said his girlfriend Sara Gurchinoff.
Lewis was honored Monday with the program’s annual wreath laying ceremony.
His family says his smile was infectious, his athleticism was unmatched, and his loved for this country was unwavering.
“He’s the kind of person you want your sons to grow up and be,” said Gurchinoff.
This holiday now has a new meaning for those close to Sgt. Lewis.
“It’s something we always celebrated before with our brothers, but now that one of them is not here it makes a lot more different… a lot more sad… but meaningful at the same time,” said Lewis’ older sister, Tori Leisinger.
It’s not easy, but it’s something they say is one step closer to coping with their new normal.
“He loved his family. He loved his girlfriend. He was just an amazing person. He was as close to perfect as you could get,” said Leisinger.
His fellow marines summing it all up with a memory.
“At the end of the day we’re all hungry, we’re all suffering, we’re all hot and we look at Taylor Lewis and the one thing he looks at us and says is ‘hey man, smile, it’s a beautiful day,'” they said.
Sgt. Lewis’ family says they are planning a golf tournament, a run, and an annual workout to continue to honor his life.