United States Army National Guard E6 Staff Sergeant • Line of Duty Death: June 16, 2015

United States Army National Guard E6 Staff Sergeant Jay D. Burkins passed away on June 16, 2015 due to service-related cancer.

Burkins was born in Havre de Grace, Maryland and raised in Harford County, Maryland. Harford being a rural area, Burkins spent most of his childhood living on a farm with his parents, siblings, and pets. He enjoyed classic cars, wrestling, spending time with his friends, and riding his horse. Additionally, he enjoyed working on the farm with his neighbors.

Following the footsteps of his older brother, Burkins decided to enlist in the USMC in 1978 after his high school graduation. He served on the USS Midway. After serving in the Marine Corps, he moved back to Maryland to be closer to his family. He joined the Maryland National Guard. In Maryland, he met his future wife, Catherine through mutual friends. The couple were later married. While serving in the Maryland National Guard, Burkins deployed three times to Iraq and once to Afghanistan. On one of his deployments in Iraq, Burkins was with the Cavalry Unit, where he earned his golden spurs, which he was very proud of. Additionally, he earned over 23 awards, ribbons, and decorations. Burkins loved everything about his career, from serving his country and being part of a team, to taking on the challenges of any task he was given. He also enjoyed taking the younger troops under his wing and being a mentor. On September 24, 2014, while deployed in Afghanistan, Burkins called his wife to inform her that he had collapsed on the airstrip. He was taken for treatment where a suspicious spot was found on his pancreas which was later confirmed to be cancer. He was medevaced to Walter Reed Army Medical Center where he remained for treatment until sadly losing his battle in June of 2015.

Currently, Catherine lives with three of her five children. Although she loves to swim, cook, and garden, she spends most of her time taking care of her disabled daughter. Additionally, she adores spending time with her family. With the help of the Foundation, Catherine is able to live worry-free knowing her mortgage is paid, and can now concentrate on her family. With the extra funds she is now able to save up, she plans on making necessary renovations to her home to make it a more inclusive and accessible space for her daughter. Finally, Catherine would like others to know that her husband was an amazing man, father, and husband. Apart from serving our country, he served his community and was loved by everyone. He was a selfless human being. He is grievously missed.

United States Army National Guard E6 Staff Sergeant Jay D. Burkins is survived by his wife, Catherine, and children, Jeannette, Shannon, Christina, Michael, and Annamarie.