"He was an absolute jewel. He did everything for me."
That's just a taste of how Lynn Loftus described her grandson, Louis Loftus.
Louis, 30, died Tuesday because of heart complications, according to his grandmother. Despite living a relatively short life, she said, he made a tremendous impact on the world and those around him.
An Afghanistan War veteran, Sgt. Louis did two tours in the U.S. Army and was strongly affected by his experiences there. His was featured on national television several times talking about his service.
Louis was born in Akron and grew up in Cuyahoga Falls and Stow. He, along with his brothers David and Mike, were adopted by Lynn and her late husband, James, when Louis was about 10 years old.
Lynn tried to recall all the things Louis did when he was young. According to her, Louis was always active.
"He loved golf and bowling. Anything to keep him moving," she said.
Lynn was always happy to see Louis with kids from the neighborhood and from school.
"He had a great amount of friends," she said Friday. "He had friends over all the time to play and hang out."
Louis and his brothers attended schools in Stow and Cuyahoga Falls.
He earned a GED and then went to Kent State University to study physical therapy, but dropped out of school after a year.
He joined the Army in 2006 and served for four years as an Airborne Infantry Paratrooper. His brother Michael soon followed, serving in Iraq.
Louis served two combat tours in Afghanistan, serving with the 82nd Airborne and the 173rd Airborne. He was honorably discharged in November 2010.
In 2010, he gave an emotional interview with NBC Nightly News about losing a friend in combat.
"I'm kind of numb to it," Louis said of his friend's death in the television report. "I don't really feel much. I pray for his family. I pray for his soul."
Tears flowed as he began to break down emotionally.
"I try not to think about it. Because when you think about it, then I get like this," he added, choking on his words.
NBC News documented his struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder in a special that aired in 2012 after a reporter followed Louis for two years.
In 2011, he was charged with domestic violence and resisting arrest after he got into a physical altercation with his ex-girlfriend. Louis told NBC News that he believed it was his bottled emotions taking over. He never really dealt with the emotional distress from losing his friends in battle and they were starting to make him mentally unstable.
NBC News reported he began to drink a lot more since being discharged.
Louis made the pledge to get better. Louis took it one day at a time; he joined a PTSD support group to help cope with the stress and emotions he was facing. He started a side business doing concrete jobs, the news report said.
"It's tough to see him go," Lynn said Friday. "It's going to be different not seeing him smiling in the house anymore."
He is survived by his two sons, two brothers, mother Cathleen, father Louis, grandmother Lynn Loftus, grandparents Rosemary and Ted Major and other friends and family.
Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Clifford-Shoemaker Funeral Home, 1930 Front St., Cuyahoga Falls. There will be a Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. Monday at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 1761 Second St., Cuyahoga Falls.
Memorials can be made to Warriors Coming Home, P.O. Box 317, Grandview, MO 64030; Catholic War Veterans of the USA, PO Box 5356, Astoria, NY 11105; WarriorsJourneyHome.org; and 82nd Airborne Honor Guard.
Brandon Bounds can be reached at 330-996-3762 or email@example.com. Follow Bounds on Twitter @brandonbounds_. ___
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