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Photo Courtesy of Shannon Kinne

Jason Kropat of White Lake died a month shy of his 26th birthday, which would have been April 10.

White Lake’s Kropat killed in Afghanistan

By Frank Rizzo
WHITE LAKE — March 12, 2010 — Jason Kropat of White Lake, who grew up in nearby Smallwood, was killed in action in Afghanistan on Tuesday, according to his sister, Kimberly, of Monticello.
A private first class in the 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, KY, Kropat reportedly died from small arms fire.
His mother Kathleen, of Fredericksburg, TX, had been informed by Army officials on Wednesday, and in turn informed Kimberly and her sisters Kristina and Courtney, who live in Cochecton. Also notified was Jason’s father, Glenn, who is separated from Kathleen but lives in the same town.
“A colonel and a sergeant came to my house,” Kimberly related. “That’s when when reality set in, when I saw them here.”
The family moved to Smallwood in 1990, she said, and Jason attended the Monticello schools. Though he did not graduate, he later earned his GED.
“He was very loving, gentle and outgoing,” Kimberly summarized her brother. “He was a great guy. He’d do anything for anybody.”
“We remained close though we were separated. He was a great guy, he loved the outdoors, he loved trout fishing,” ex-girlfriend Shannon Kinne wrote in an e-mail. “Everyone who knew him knew he loved White Lake. All of us who were friends and close to him all have some memories of him on White Lake, be it fishing in anything he could get out on the lake with, trying to wake board off the back of the boats, sitting on the porch drinking a beer relaxing, watching the people go by on their boats. We all love him and will miss him
“He was a great person and loved everything outdoors,” she added.
Kimberly last spoke to her brother on Sunday and related that “he missed everybody. He was homesick.”
Kropat had visited his sisters around Christmas time before being deployed to Afghanistan in late January, according to Kimberly.
Though Jason and his family were understandably worried about his being in a war zone, Kimberly said, “He understood the cause. He believed in what he was fighting for.”
Kimberly, who is engaged to Paul Beam of Monticello, said she was waiting for her brother to come back on his leave before getting married.
“He was going to walk me down the aisle,” she said, breaking into tears.
Kimberly said she plans to meet Jason’s plane when it lands at Dover Air Force base, where the fallen are flown back to US soil.
Plans for a service are incomplete at this time.
Kropat joined the Army in October 2008. A spokeswoman at Fort Campbell said no info can be released until the Department of Defense releases the official casualty report – after notifying next of kin.

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