Prayer Vigil For Missing Woodruff Marine

Jeffrey Sempler
Jeffrey Sempler

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The search continues for twelve Marines missing after their two helicopters crashed off the coast of Hawaii.

One of the Marines is from the Upstate.

The Marine Corps says Sergeant Jeffrey Sempler of Woodruff is missing. Sempler attended Woodruff High School in Spartanburg County.

7 News spoke with teachers who knew him and city leaders who are hoping he’ll be found.

Sgt. Sempler was a 2011 graduate of Woodruff High and an honor student.

His father, Jeremy Beauvier, a city police officer, was too grieved to speak on camera Sunday, but in a Facebook post he wrote “Three Marines just left my home, after relaying a notification that my son, Sgt. Jeffrey Sempler is Missing in Action, Currently presumed deceased. Jeffrey is not just my son, but a friend a hero.”

Woodruff Mayor Kenneth Gist visited Beauvier this weekend.

“One thing Jeremy said was that Jeffrey graduated one week and he had a week in-between before he went into the military, so that let me know that he was very enthused about going to the service, being a part of the Marine Corps.

The 22-year-old had been with the Marines for almost 4 years before he and 11 others went missing Thursday night off the coast of Hawaii.

Teachers at Woodruff tell 7 News Sempler was the type of high school student who loved to learn, and more than that, he was kind. One told me if you dropped your books down the hall, he would run to pick them up.

“My heart just truly goes out to him and to his family, and I just pray for good news,” said Diana Olencki, his former art teacher. She said he was a talented student who stood out in intellect and character.

“That sense of humor that he had made me look forward to being around him every day. I never saw that young man without a smile on his face ever,” she said.

“It’s a very very difficult time right now. I can say his kid loved his country,” said Mayor Gist.

The Mayor has planned a vigil for Sgt. Sempler for noon Monday in front of Woodruff City Hall which is also the Police Department where his father works.

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