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January 15, 2002
Friendship with Hobbs soldier
inspires Home Of Heroes Web site.
By MARIE WADSWORTH
Pictured are Hobbs soldier Jaime Pacheco (back) and Doug Sterner, who served with H Troop, 75th Rangers attached to 1st Air Cavalry Division in Vietnam. Pacheco's friendship with Sterner inspired the veteran to create the HomeofHeroes Web site.
Doug Sterner of Pueblo, Colo., created the Home of Heroes Web site, which was inspired by his friendship with a Hobbs soldier, Jaime Pacheco, who lost his life in Vietnam.
Sterner, who entered the service in Montana, said he met Pacheco in Vietnam, where Pacheco served with H Troop, 75th Rangers attached to the 1st Air Cavalry Division.
Despite knowing each other for only two months, Sterner said he and Jaime became battle buddies and shared a common bond of friendship through the strong religious beliefs they had.
"Jaime was my best friend and my brother. Our experiences and friendship was a defining moment in my life," Sterner said. "In a combat environment, it's very common to make lifelong friendships. Men who go into battle facing dangers together creates a bond few people understand."
Pacheco, one of the most highly decorated New Mexico service members, was killed in action in Vietnam May 25, 1972, three months after Sterner returned home from Vietnam, the veteran said.
Following his friend's death and burial in Hobbs, Sterner said he sent Pacheco's wife photos of Jaime and himself and then didn't remain in contact with the family.
Two years later Sterner said he began to search for his friend's family without much success.
During many moves over the years, the veteran said he had lost his uniforms, patches, and photos from his time in service except for his beret and three letters he'd exchanged with Jaime.
"The one thing I regretted most was I had lost a photo I had taken with Jaime after a firefight in Vietnam," the instructor at a community college in Pueblo and member of the 1st Cavalry Association said.
Then, in 1997, the 1st Cavalry Division Association ran this same photo of Jaime and himself on the cover of its annual calendar and renewed his search for the Pacheco family, the veteran said.
On Jan. 20, 1998, Sterner said he received a call from the wife of his friend's son, who invited him to meet with the family in Angle Fire.
Twenty-six years to the day when Jaime had been killed -- May 25, 1998 -- Sterner met with his friend's mother, son, brothers and sister.
After sharing a pamphlet he wrote, "God is Good," about Jaime with the Pacheco family, they asked him to put the story on the Internet, Sterner said.
Putting his friend's story online was the first time he'd used the Internet, launching the Home of Heroes Web site in July 1998, the veteran said.
"Everything I do today is in memory of the kinship I felt for the brother I lost in Vietnam," he said.
The Web site, containing more than 15,000 html pages of historical and patriotic information, includes biographies of Medal of Honor recipients, historical information about the various conflicts America has been in, U.S. flag history and protocol and other features, Sterner said.
"Thirty years after his death, Jaime indirectly touches the lives of more than 60,000 people per month," he said.
Considering Jaime's son, Michael, as his own son, Sterner said he stays in contact and gets together with the Pachecos.
The Web site can be visited at www.homeofheroes.com. Visitors can read the story about Jaime at www.homeofheroes.com/godisgood.
Publish Date Tuesday, January 14, 2002
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