Life Story for Jeffrey Stidham
Jeffrey Wayne Stidham
The moment Jeffrey was born he had my heart. He was such a laid-back infant who always smiled and loved to be cuddled. We almost lost him when he was a week old to Jaundice. His bilirubin count was very high and the doctors wanted to filter out all of his blood. I fought the doctors on that one and I was glad I did because shortly after that it was discovered that the donated blood could have been tainted with HIV.
While Jeffrey was developing, he did everything very slowly as an infant and he could not talk clearly until he was about 4 years old. Once Jeff could talk he never stopped. He talked all the time - asking questions about everything. He was like an information sponge. Jeffrey wanted to know how everything worked and if he could not figure it out he would take it apart.
When Jeffrey was 5 years old he had his first dentist check-up and passed with no cavities. I was so proud because he loved to brush his teeth and it showed. The same day he was outside playing and he broke his arm with a compound fracture. When he showed me what happened, he said while holding his arm to show me the injury, “Mom don’t get mad I’m getting blood on your floor, but I think something is wrong with my arm.” His bones were sticking out of his arm and I had to take him to the emergency room; when we got there, they rushed him in and had him in surgery a half hour after our arrival.
Jeffrey loved it when I would read him bedtime stories and when he was in the first grade, one night he moved over in his bed and put his hand on the side of the bed and said, “Sit momma next to me. I want to read you a story tonight.” I sat next to Jeff and he read to me for the first time. I cried tears of joy as my baby boy read me a story.
Jeffrey loved to go to school and never missed a day. He was a busy child who always had to have something to do. When he had to sit for a long span of time he would find something to do. Not all of his teachers appreciated his enthusiasm to learn and so it sometimes got him into trouble when he would wonder around the classroom looking for things to do. He was always the first to complete the assignments and got bored easily. When I told the teachers, they needed to challenge him and give him more work they had a problem with it, but soon learned it would be the best to have Jeffrey stay in his seat.
While Jeff was growing up the family would take several trips to different parks (National and local), Lakes, rivers, rock climbing, and four wheeling. He loved it when we would go to the beach or hike our local and far away mountains. Jeffrey loved adventures with all of his family members. This love for adventures continued to grow with Jeffrey as he became an adult. He traveled to China, the Philippines, Malaysia and Korea. He was planning a trip back to these beautiful places this month.
Jeff was able to develop and build friendships wherever he would go. He had a charm and personality that was unique and people either loved him, didn’t get him or embraced his wit and comedic antics.
As a teenager, Jeff enjoyed sports. He loved skateboarding, Karate and he played on the first and only Roller Hockey team for Lancaster High School. He always strived for perfection and wanted to be good at everything he did, always putting in 110%. Jeff also loved all types of genres of music. He humored me with my love of pop music, but fell in love with Rock N Roll, Country, some Jazz and a little bit of everything else. Jeff would always dance with me when I asked him to and if I was down he would tell me to bring it in for, “Diaper Time,” Which meant I was about to get the best hug ever. Jeff would say as he was hugging me, “Take the huggie, just take the huggie. You know you want it.”
Jeff loved spending time with his brothers playing video games, skateboarding, paintball, and shooting BB guns. One time when Jeff was playing with BB guns he was shot by one of his brothers in the face and had to go to a plastic surgeon to remove the BB so he would not get paralysis in his face. This is where the saying, “Never surrender and never back down,” came from. It was a brother code and became one of Jeff’s motto’s.
Jeffrey was a movie lover and he would watch his movies over and over remembering lines from each of his favorites. He even remembered some of the lines from movies I loved which soon became movies he loved too. Jeff could say something off the wall and it would be a line from a movie, and if you were familiar with the movie you would get the reference and could act the part out with him. This was something he and I frequently did throughout his life. Jeff did not like to see anyone down and he was always there to help you find your smile. Jeffrey also loved to watch comedians and it was usually the ones who spoke truth that most people would find hard to swallow. He would recite or act out some of the parts the comedians were trying to drive home to make a point. Pointing out the things people would choose to ignore or things people made a big deal out of, that has no real value in our work today.
He spent lots of time with all of his family and his nieces were no exception. They would always talk about Uncle Jeff with a smile on their faces. He was an amazing son, an awesome brother, a great friend to have - who would always have your back, and a very special uncle. Jeffrey had a big heart with lots of compassion and he gave to those who needed it when he had so little to give. He would always find a way to help those in need. He would literally give the shirt off his back for his family and friends who needed him. I will miss his giving heart.
Jeffrey had another special family who I have recently had the pleasure of meeting and I can understand why he had such a love and joy of serving as an Army Reservist. I was skeptical of him joining at first, but after hearing some of the stories I can understand why he always had a smile on his face when he would leave home to go on a training mission.
SPC Stidham was a communications subject matter expert as a Signal Support Specialist, 425th CA BN, Encino, California. In this position, he was responsible for ensuring the line companies were well prepared for their missions by ensuring tactical communications were established in the form of Tactical Radios both analog and satellite, FBCB2, MBITRs, ASIP, and JCR. He developed himself as a Soldier, learning the necessary skills to become a productive Signal Support Specialist by involving himself in any training that was geared towards his skill set and volunteering to be a part of any mission that relied heavily on Signal components. SPC Stidham provided his communications specialty support during 3 Annual Training from 2015-2017 which supported over 130 soldiers each time, Operation Cold Steel April ’17, and NTC rotation 18.1 in 2017.
SPC Stidham enlisted in the United States Army in 2014 as a Signal Support Specialist. He enlisted for an initial contract of 6 years and was in the process of transitioning to Active Duty status.
2014 Basic Combat Training
2014 Signal Support Specialist Course
2015 Structured Self Development – Level 1
2017 Combat Lifesaver Course
1. December 2014 – September 2017, Signal Information Support Specialist, HHC 425th CA BN, Encino, CA
2. September 2017 – Present, Forward Signal Support NCO, B Company 425th CA BN, Encino, CA
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Private 2nd Class 06 May 2014
Private First Class 06 May 2015
Specialist 06 May 2016