Friends remember Iraqi War vet killed in crashSteve Kreps doesn't have a brother, but he considered Brian Jacobson the closest thing to one.
By: Mike Longaecker, The Republican Eagle
Steve Kreps doesn't have a brother, but he considered Brian Jacobson the closest thing to one.
The two grew up together, served together in the army and stayed best friends over the past 20 years.
Then came the stunning news Monday that Jacobson had been killed in a head-on crash just north of the Hastings bridge. The Lake City man leaves behind a wife, Ember, and two children, Shamelah and Atlas.
"It's a huge loss," said Kreps, who graduated from Red Wing Central High in 1993 with Jacobson.
Kreps remembered Jacobson, 34, as a devoted family man, a proud, intelligent soldier and a loyal friend.
Friends said that at 6-foot-6 with bright red hair, Jacobson caught people's attention.
"But he was just like a big teddy bear," said fellow 1993 Central High graduate Duane Sweeney.
Jacobson joined the Army right out of high school. Goodhue County Veterans Service Officer Bob Davis said Jacobson was a staff sergeant in the Army National Guard.
Jacobson served two tours in Iraq as part of the 434th Chemical Co., returning from his most recent deployment July 2009.
"He was definitely one of our own," Davis said.
Kreps, now a Zumbrota resident, served with Jacobson on his first tour from 2004-05. He said Jacobson began the tour as a gun truck driver and later worked to coordinate convoy movements.
"You could easily call him a patriot," said Sweeney, a Marine. "He always wanted to serve."
Jacobson was awarded a combat action badge during his service in Iraq, Kreps said.
"He was a good soldier," Kreps said.
And a man of varied interests, he noted. Kreps called Jacobson a "tinkering farmer."
Davis said Jacobson and his wife continued to stay in touch with the local veterans office after his deployment.
"He's one of the ones that we'll really miss," Davis said.