Funeral services are scheduled for Friday for local U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Libardo Anthony Jimenez, Jr., who died March 23, three days after collapsing in the ring as a member of an All-Marine Boxing Team.
The 21-year-old had returned safely from an Iraq tour in October.
His uncle, Ron Palmer, said Jimenez should not have been allowed to box because of a head injury he suffered a little more than a month before his death. The injury had forced Jimenez to take a five-day leave of absense.
"Anthony suffered trauma to his head five weeks before while training in the ring, and complained of headaches ever since," Palmer said, claiming that no CAT Scan or other testing was done at that time, and that although his nephew was given five days of leave then, he should not have been back in the ring until tested.
On March 29, the Marine Corps base at Camp Lejeune released the following statement regarding Jimenez' death:
"Jimenez was training in the boxing team's gym March 20 when he complained of a headache and collapsed. He was transported to Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, and later to Pitt County Memorial Hospital, where he passed away. The cause of death is under investigation."
Jimenez is a 2007 graduate of W.C. Mepham High School, where his brother Matthew Palmer is a senior. He also leaves behind his parents, Penny Palmer and Libardo Anthony Jimenez, grandmother Helen Palmer, and fiancé Alyssa Scuderi.
Jimenez enlisted in the U.S. Marines right after graduating from high school in June 2007, and was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal in October 2008. Jimenez served as a motor vehicle operator while assigned to Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division from February 2008 to January 2010, and was promoted to his current rank Oct. 1, 2008. He deployed with the 3rd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, from August to October 2009.
Jimenez's awards include the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.
Jimenez was popular and well liked throughout Bellmore.
"His smile could just light up a room," said Theresa Lagatto, mother of one of Jiminez's best friends, Michael Lagatto.
Debbie Stein, the mother of another of Jimenez's best friends and fellow Marine Evan Stein said her son is grieving. She said his son told her, "He's my brother now," when he enlisted shortly after him.
"Anthony lives on," she added. "He is an organ donor. Seven people will live because he donated two eyes, two lungs, two kidneys and his heart."
"I have been blessed to have known Anthony," family friend Dawn Iacona said.
"My son was friends with Anthony and he was often at my home," Iacona added. "Anthony would always go out of his way to say hello and always have a great big beautiful smile. He was never without that smile."
Added Lil Bernstein, his former Saw Mill Road Elementary School teacher, "I was one of the lucky ones who had the opportunity to watch Anthony grow from a cute, fun-loving boy to a handsome, respected young man."
His wake is tonight from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Arthur F. White Funeral Home on 315 Conklin Street in Farmingdale.
The funeral will be held Friday at 9:45 a.m. at St. Kilian Roman Catholic Church in Farmingdale. That will be followed by interment with military honors at St. Charles Cemetery in East Farmingdale.