January 2023 

It was sad news when we heard of the sudden passing of Jazmin Cruz, a 27 year-old, Department of Veteran Affairs, Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery representative.

Here is a rememberance from Sgt. Nathan Hooker, a VA employee and Army Reservist:

Dear Honor Guard and Memorial Squad Members,

I have had some time to think about and process the loss of our dear friend, Jazmin. As all of you know, Jazmin was unlike anyone we have ever met in our lifetime. Once you saw the kind of person she was, you knew she would make the world a better place. Jazmin was bubbly, caring, selfless, happy, and absolutely brightened up our hearts and our day. She could turn a bad day into the best of a day by just seeing her smile.

Jazmin loved the work she did at ALNC and absolutely cared for all the families that she had the honor to help each and everyday. I know you all saw that every day she was in front of you. I considered Jazmin to be a good friend of mine. Jazmin was wise beyond her years, I often sought for her advice both professionally and personally.

She supported me as I know she supported you all.

I wanted to thank you for the support you have shown Jazmin and her family. Due to my military obligation, I was unable to make the visitation. I heard about the turnout you provided her and the amount of attendance at the funeral home.

I was so proud and honored to hear what you all did for her. I have worked with all of you for some time now, both with the Cemetery and the Army. You volunteer your time every week to support our Veterans and their families. You do this with our recognition, without regard to the weather conditions, on your own time, and you do this because its the right thing to do for our Veterans.

What we do at the Cemetery, we become more than work colleagues, we become family. I want you to know that Jazmin saw this. She often told me that she loved you all for what you do at the Cemetery and the selfless acts you provide to our Veterans and families. 

I want to echo Jazmin and thank you personally for everything you do for our Veterans and personally thank you for what you did for Jazmin. I can't tell you what it means to know there are people in the world like you all.

Its an honor and a privilege to work with you all everyday to honor our Veterans and families. What we do a the Cemetery affects so many life's and and has a lasting effect on so many. You all do great work and I cant thank you enough. I cant thank you enough for the amount of support you shown to Jazmin. Please keep Jazmin with you each and everyday as I know she will continue to brighten up the darkness of times. Jazmin always would say "Its the least I can do, don't you worry!"

I will hold her memory close and remember her as the "Jaz" we all know her as! Thank you all again, Jaz would have been proud of you all! 


Nathan Hooker 
- Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, Elwood Illinois