MENIFEE: Plane crash victim Chris Ruiz ‘proud to serve his country’
MENIFEE: Plane crash victim Christopher Ruiz ‘proud to serve his country’
HOW TO HELP
A webpage has been set up to collect donations for the family at gofundme.com/chrisruiz. By Tuesday night, more than $20,000 had been pledged.
SERVICES FOR CHRIS RUIZ
Visitation: 5 p.m. Oct. 18 at Evans Brown Mortuary, 27010 Encanto Drive, in Sun City.
Funeral Mass: 11 a.m. Oct. 19 at St. Vincent Ferrer Church, 27931 Murrieta Road, in Sun City.
Burial: 2 p.m., following Mass, at Riverside National Cemetery, 22495 Van Buren Blvd. east of Riverside.
Christopher Ruiz, a 10-year Marine veteran who was killed in a fiery plane crash in Afghanistan last week, may have turned in his uniform, but never lost his deep-seated passion for service, his wife said.
“He was really proud to serve his country — whether a Marine or a civilian,” said Lorelyn Ruiz, of her husband, who was working for a private defense contractor when the transport plane crashed, killing all 11 on board.
Ruiz, who was 29, was in the Marines from August 2004 to July 2014, Lorelyn Ruiz said.
He is also survived by their three children: daughters Brooklyn, 5, and Aria, 1; and son, Carter, 3.
Lorelyn Ruiz said she met her husband when they were high school sophomores in Lemoore, where Ruiz’s father, who was also a Marine, was stationed at the time.
Lemoore is in the Central Valley south of Fresno. Lorelyn Ruiz said her husband was originally from Santa Ana.
Ruiz died last week when the U.S. Air Force C-130J Hercules in which he was flying went down at Jalalabad air field shortly after takeoff a little after midnight Thursday, Oct. 1. There were no survivors among the six service� members, who comprised the crew, and five civilians on the flight.
“He truly believed what they say, ‘Once a Marine, always a Marine,’ ” said Lorelyn Ruiz, 29.
Investigators have not determined the cause of the crash.
The family resides in the Heritage Lake section of Menifee. Lorelyn Ruiz said they have lived in the city since 2009.
“We have the support of family and friends,” said Lorelyn Ruiz. “And our community of Heritage Lake, they’re amazing.
“Also, Marines that Christopher has worked with throughout his military career. They’re all reaching out just talking about how wonderful and what a great person he was.”