As the world watched and mourned President George H.W. Bush, a Wellington High School graduate played a pivotal role in his state funeral.
Inside Wellington Elementary, Ms. Eckstein’s pre-K class was learning theABC’s Thursday, but on Wednesday it was a lesson in history.
“Yesterday I watched him from right here,” said Cathy Epstein, who watched her son on television from her classroom. “It’s just a moment that we’ll never forget for the rest of our lives, and we’re so proud of him.”
Cathy Eckstein is a proud mom. Her 24-year-old son, Jared Tosner, was chosen to carry the casket of former President George H.W. Bush at his state funeral in Washington.
“He’s so determined,” she said. “Since he was 11 he wanted to be a Marine.”
“That’s my brother, I mean he’s meant to be there, and such an honor,” said Caleigh Tosner, Jared’s sister.
Jared enlisted in the Marine Corps after College. He went to the School of Infantry and was selected to become a body bearer, which is an elite group whose primary mission is to bear the caskets at funerals for Marines, former Marines, and Marine family members at Arlington National Cemetery and the surrounding cemeteries in the National Capitol Region.
The body bearers are also called to support funerals for senior statesmen, heads of state, and former Presidents of the United States.
Jared graduated from Wellington Elementary, where his mom is a teacher. He later played baseball at Palm Beach State College, and his former teachers say he was always focused and determined.
“Jared has been an overachiever, you know you saw something special in elementary school,” said Luis Echerri, Jared’s former teacher.
As Ms Eckstein taught her young class, she couldn’t help but in awe of her son who is helping honor his country.
“I see a man that is my son, and he is just so determined to do the best job,“ she said while choking back tears. “I know he’s doing what he loves and what he wanted his whole life, and that look on his face really says it all.”