Soldier killed buying Christmas present leaves behind legacy

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WEST SIDE — Friends and family say a National Guardsman killed while trying to buy a Christmas present was a selfless and loving family man.

Sgt. First Class Jim Vester died while answering a Craigslist ad for an iPad at an apartment on the west side.

Police arrested brothers Tyron Kincade, 19, and Tyshaune Kincade, 18, for the crime Friday.

Friends said Vester was a great cook, loving father and faithful man.

Vester leaves behind his wife Jamie and one-year-old son Gavin.

“He would drop everything and cross town to help you and your family,” friend Master Sgt. Jerry Wurm said.

Jamie’s friend, Sarah Benson, saw that firsthand. As she was going through a divorce, with a young daughter to care for, Jamie and Jim took her in.

“I have a picture of my daughter at the age of two, she’s seven now, playing in Jim’s boots,” Benson said.

Jim and Jamie spent years trying to start their  own family. Finally, just a year ago, they welcomed their son Gavin.

“Just the joy and happiness and so much relief for them, because that’s what they wanted,” Benson said.

To his National Guard family, too, he was a rock. He did an 18-month tour in Iraq from 2005-2006. Jim was also known for his great cooking.

“I was (always) telling young soldiers that never had Jim’s food, I said, ‘Hey if Jim’s cooking, you better show up because it’s good and you won’t be disappointed,'” Wurm said.

The community has rallied around Vester’s family. More than $50,000 had been raised through this fundraising page in just a couple of days.

Vester’s family tell Fox 59 he would want them to pray for the teenagers accused in the crime.