Graduating friends from Pacific High School have gone downhill fundraising for a military-themed skate park in his honor.

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) – Fundraising is underway to bring a skate park to Pacific City in honor of a local soldier killed in a 2012 game.

Jeffrey White Jr graduated from Pacific High School in 2008 and enlisted in the US Army in 2009. After attending the Parachute School at Fort Benning, he was transferred to Afghanistan in December 2011. He suffered from an IED. killed in April 2012.

Paula White, his mother, said: ‘He was so fun and adventurous, he really had a fiery determination and always had a fire for life.

Growing up, White enjoyed skateboarding, his mother said. He started this sport at the age of 13 and always tries to push the limits.

“He would skate and skate, he was so determined, you would watch him do a trick 300 times until he got it right,” she said.

By the time he entered middle school and eventually high school, he was admired by fellow skaters and friends for his talent, said friend Jared Cattoor.

“He was always pushing himself to the limit and doing things that no one else would try, like jumping off roofs and things like that,” he said.

There are no skate courts, so the boys often go to nearby parking lots and buildings to practice their skills.

“I’m sure they’ve been to a lot of places they shouldn’t have been,” White said. “Children in this town have been craving something to do for a long time.”

Cattoor said to honor his friend and provide a new activity for the kids in town, he approached the city about creating a skate park.

Steve Myers, Pacific City’s Director of Community Development, says the idea has been endorsed by city officials.

“There’s nothing for kids to do, that’s something I’ve heard time and time again,” he said. “This will make the parks of the Pacific a place that people want to be.”

That’s because Myers says improvements to the city’s tennis courts and swimming pools, both located in Pacific City Park, are about to be improved. He hopes the addition of a skate park will act as a catalyst for other recreation improvement projects.

“They’re doing great, they’ve taken responsibility by the horns and I think they’re going to make it happen,” Myers said.

Cattoor said his organizers are aiming to raise $150,000, hoping to find grants to match that amount in the future. Currently, Cattoor says the group has raised about $17,000, but still needs more.

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For $120, one donor will receive an engraved brick to place at the park. Every donation, big or small, helps make the vision a reality, says Cattoor.

“We wanted to honor and remember Jeff and this is what he loved to do so it’s very fitting,” he said. “But we also wanted to bring something to town for the kids to do.”

White’s parents are excited about the project and are grateful their son will be remembered for something he’s passionate about.

“When they said they wanted to go with the military theme and they really wanted to dedicate it on Jeffrey’s behalf, of course, we were very grateful and very grateful,” Paula White said.

Joplin’s company American Ramp is helping with the design, Cattoor said. Myers said the likely site for the park would be City Park near the football fields, but that decision is pending final approval.

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