Sara A. Medina
Born November 27, 1991
At Rest May 12, 2015
Cpl. Sara Medina, a 2010 graduate of East Aurora High School,
was killed while on a relief mission in Nepal last week.
The U.S. Department of Defense confirmed Sunday that Medina
was one of eight people killed when the helicopter they were
riding in crashed in the mountains northeast of Kathmandu, the
capital of Nepal. The helicopter was reported missing on
Tuesday, May 12.
The helicopter was delivering rice and tarps to areas that
were hit hardest by the earthquake. The helicopter had dropped
supplies at its first site, and was headed to a second location
when it went missing, the Marine Corps Times reported. The
helicopter was recovered Friday. The Nepalese and Indian
governments participated in the search and recovery, the
Department of Defense reported.
"This tragedy is a reminder of the vital but dangerous role
that American service members play in delivering humanitarian
assistance and disaster relief," said U.S. Defense Secretary Ash
East Aurora High School teacher Grace Millar-Laxton had
Medina in her ESL class as a freshman and sophomore. As a young
student, Medina had a tough-girl attitude. But Millar-Laxton saw
tremendous brains and potential.
"I just knew something about Sara. If you've been in the
teaching game for a while, you can spot it," Millar-Laxton said.
"Sara was the kind of girl who was up for a challenge and I saw
that early on."
Millar-Laxton saw Medina change from a very fresh freshman to
a very serious student with big goals. At East Aurora High
School, she was a member of NJROTC. During high school, she also
did clerical work in a mechanic shop, but didn't hesitate to get
in and change oil or fix mufflers, said East Aurora High School
teacher Obed Mendoza. Mendoza said Medina was always tough and
As a senior, Medina would return to Millar-Laxton's class to
talk about her future. She mentioned she was considering
enlisting in the Marines.
"She wanted to serve her country. I think she thought it was
going to teach her," Millar-Laxton said. "She was looking for
the experience. She thought that would be good for."
Medina was serving as a combat photographer on the relief
mission, documenting the work done by Marines and the need for
assistance in Nepal, which has been hit by two massive
earthquakes. According the Marine Corps Times, before being
deployed to Nepal, Medina had photographed Marines in South
Korea, the Philippines, Japan, Australia and the U.S.
After enlisting, Medina returned to her high school to talk
to other Tomcats. In uniform, she visited classes to tell
current students the importance of getting a good education.
In her most recent visit, she spoke to a teacher about how,
through her military service, she was seeing parts of the world
she had only dreamed about in high school.
The entire East Aurora family mourns with her family and
friends. All Tomcats thank Cpl. Sara Medina for her service to
our country and to our community.
This was to be Medina's last tour of duty and was planning on
returning to Illinois in January.
Sara was engaged and planned to marry in August.