Sgt. Joseph M. Garrison, 27, of New Bethlehem, Pa. died June 6, 2011, while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C. Sgt. Garrison joined the Marine Corps in 2002, and was promoted to Sergeant in 2007. Garrison did four tours of duty in Afghanistan. He was awarded two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, a National Defense Service Medal, a Good Conduct Medal, a Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and a NATO Medal- ISAF Afghanistan.  He was survived by his parents, Natalie L. Schoonover and Joseph Garrison, his sisters Kimberly Knoll and Judy Rupp, his brother, Jake, and fiancé, Brittany Stephens.

“It was always funny because I’m 6 feet 4 inches and he was maybe 5 feet 4 inches,” said Sgt. Dan Clift. “He’s pretty short. I would always tower over him, but I would follow him anywhere…he’s a hell of a leader.”

The Travis Manion Foundation provided a Challenge Grant to five Marines – Nick Collier, Nathan Noble, Ross Graves, Matt Dixon, and Jordan Mazar – empowering them to hike the Appalachian Trail in honor Sgt. Garrison and other Fallen Heroes. Through the mental and physical challenge of the hike, the men honored the lives of the fallen and shared in the camaraderie of the Marine Corps.

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