Okemos man killed during volunteer rescue mission in Ukraine
Lansing State Journal by Krysyal Nurse
OKEMOS — Bradley Jarema, 20, was killed Wednesday during a volunteer search and rescue mission in Ukraine, according to an email the Okemos school district sent to its families.
"Bradley Jarema; 2020 OHS graduate, humanitarian, and hero," the statement from the Okemos Public Monterrosi at Central read.
Jarema attended the Montessori program and his mother works there, according to the email.
A U.S. Department of State spokesperson said in an email to the State Journal officials are "aware of these unconfirmed reports and are in touch with the family."
Former Okemos High School football head coach Mike Krumm said Thursday that Jarema had a kind-hearted soul and was a good teammate. He was not surprised to hear Jarema was on a volunteer humanitarian mission and called the loss a tragedy.
"He cares about other people and doing that type of work goes with what he believed in and wanted to help others," Krumm said.
It wasn't immediately clear when Jarema left for Ukraine or where he was killed. He is one of thousands of Americans who have volunteered to help Ukrainians since Russia invaded the eastern European country in February 2022, according to the Associated Press.
At least six Americans have been killed in Ukraine since the war began, according to the USDOS and reports from families.
The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine issued a level four "do not travel" travel advisory for Ukraine, warning Americans to not travel to the country due to the Russian invasion. There's currently a heightened threat of missile attacks as of May 3.
Jarema graduated from Okemos High School in 2020 and played on the offensive line on the school's football team, according to Krumm. He attended Okemos schools since he was in second grade, the email said. He has a younger sister Allison who is graduating from Okemos next month.
"He always had a smile on his face and always one of those kids who was happy-go-lucky," Krumm said.
Details on funeral arrangements have not yet been released.
"I think like all of our players on the team, it's about being selfless and being a good citizen," Krumm said. "That's exactly what Brad stood for and what we could all take from that."