Jorge L. Pena-Romero was known for staying cool and lifting the moods of people around him. “As an individual, this guy was incredible, easy to talk to, always had some kind of smile on his face, always knew how to lighten people’s moods,” said SGT Jason Morris, a friend. Pena-Romero, 29, of Fallbrook, Calif., died July 16 in Baghdad when an explosive device detonated near his vehicle while on patrol. He was based at Fort Irwin. He graduated high school in 1995 and joined the Army, where he was a machine gunner. “He was well-liked, and he was a mentor to many of the guys in the troop,” said Lindsey Keys, whose husband is the commander of Pena-Romero’s unit. Pena-Romero took joy in doing little things on the side to help Iraqis, such as coordinating a clothing drive through his Seventh-day Adventist Church in Fallbrook. “He was organizing a group of people who would give things to the kids,” said his sister, Karla Pena-Marin. “He said that no matter how much they got over there, it was never enough.” He is survived by his wife and three children.

Jorge’s son will honored his father through service by participating in the 2015 Teen Expedition.

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