"I miss my friend," said Staff Sgt. Shawn Burns, pushing against waves of sadness July 29 as he recalled the life of Sgt. 1st Class Jonathon M. Prins.Burns was one of several Soldiers to take the pulpit Friday at the Main Post Chapel for a memorial service designed to remind friends, Family and colleagues that Prins' life --and death -- meant something. Prins, 29, and Charles Allen Judge Jr., 40, a member of the S.C. National Guard, were fatally shot July 24 while trying to protect a woman in a Lexington County bar.Prins would have dismissed titles such as "hero," Burns said, but it was a word he said accurately described his friend. "Jonathon died protecting someone he didn't even know. Think about what that says about his character.""The hardest thing for me to accept, personally, is the loss of someone with so much potential to make a difference in the Army and life," said 1st Battalion, 61st Infantry Regiment Commander Lt. Col. Michael Whitney. "Whether home or abroad, Jonathon's actions exemplified what it means to be an American Soldier."Prins' career began in the summer of 2006, when he completed basic training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
His first assignment was to the 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment as a fire support specialist. He would serve seven years at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, deploying twice to Afghanistan and once to Iraq. He arrived at Fort Jackson in August 2014, where he assumed his duties as a drill sergeant with the 165th Infantry Brigade."When I received the call about Prins, I didn't want to believe it," said 1st Lt. Frankie Moore, Delta
Company commander, 1st Battalion, 61st Infantry Regiment. "As the pieces of the event started to come together, I was not surprised to find out that he had placed himself in the face of danger in order to help someone else. As a decorated war veteran, he staring in the face of danger was second nature to him."Heroes are made by the paths they choose, not by the powers they possess," Moore said. "Prins did not involve himself because he was a man of steel or had superhuman strength; he walked the
path he knew to be right, helping his fellow man."Staff Sgt. Spencer Palmer said Prins was capable of changing the dynamic of any room though his force of will."Whether it was the smile on his face, his humor ... he stood his ground to make sure the right thing was done -- even if it meant ruffling some feathers," he said. "He approached everything he encountered in his life with the same amount of passion. He never gave up and always strived to be the best."Even in death, Palmer said Prins exemplified the best of the Army."When he said it, you knew he meant it," he said. "That's why, when I heard of that tragic night, I wasn't surprised. He was always one to put others above himself. He believed in doing the right
thing and nothing was going to stop him, even if it meant laying down his life for another."Among Prins's honors are the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal with Valor, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, and the Meritorious Unit Commendation
Medal.Prins is survived by his wife, Roxanne, two daughters and a son."Jonathon served this country with valor and lived the ethos of selfless service, making those around him better," Whitney said."He had even extended here at Fort Jackson to continue his work with initial entry Soldiers at the reception battalion. That, more to me than anything, demonstrates how much Jonathon believed he
made a difference here."