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Marine Cpl. Jonathan D. Porto

Died March 14, 2010 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

26, of Largo, Fla.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died March 14 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Corporal had a heart of gold

The Associated Press

When Jonathan Porto proposed to his wife, he didn’t have a ring to give her. So he improvised.

The Marine took the small chain from his dog tag and wrapped it around Rachel’s finger.

“I showed it off like it was a freaking 2-carat diamond platinum piece of work,” she said. Rachel Porto eventually got a real ring a few weeks later, when Porto surprised her at her family’s cabin at Walt Disney World.

It wasn’t long after their marriage that the couple had another special gift: their daughter, Ariana, born Jan. 15. But Porto never met his daughter in person, despite being in the delivery room via a fuzzy phone connection.

Porto, 26, of Largo, Fla., died in a vehicle crash March 14 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, his family said. He was assigned to Camp Lejeune and graduated from Timberlane High School in New Hampshire.

Porto’s sister, Sonya, said her brother was the most fun of her numerous siblings.

“He had a heart of gold, and he really wanted to make sure everyone was OK,” she said.

Porto enlisted in 2008 — in part because he had trouble finding a job in the poor economy, said his father, Steve Porto. And he loved it, telling his mother that he even enjoyed the grueling basic training he went through at Parris Island.

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