Source: Tulsa World | Cary Aspinwall
Not every war hero dies on the battlefield.
Capt. John Javier Boria died in September 2004 after an accident while stationed in Qatar with the U.S. Air Force.
But his organs were donated to save the lives of others - people in need of kidneys, corneas, a liver, pancreas and his heart.
Boria graduated from Union High School in 1993 and the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1998. He died at 29, of injuries from a recreational vehicle accident in Doha, Qatar, while working at an Air Force command center there in the Iraqi War theater.
His legacy lives on through a scholarship given each year since 2005 through the Hispanic American Foundation of Tulsa.
"John worked very hard at the United States Air Force Academy and pursued his dream of becoming an officer and pilot," said his father, John Boria. "Our hope is that through this scholarship other Latino boys and girls will aspire to work hard through education and achieve their career dreams."
His son was a good student but didn't buckle down and study until he entered the USAF Preparatory School, where he earned a 4.0 GPA.
While at the Air Force Academy, Boria focused on helping classmates with their studies, even if it took time away from his own academic efforts.
"John felt that intelligence is not measured by your academic grade point average, but how you use that gift to help others," his father said.
A favorite Bible verse of his was John 15:13: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." He and a group of buddies had it engraved on the inside of their class rings.
It was a similar philosophy that led to him choosing to be an organ donor.
His parents flew to Qatar after the accident, still in shock from the news. But his wishes were clear. His organs were distributed throughout the Middle East, where organ donation is not as common (many Muslims don't condone the practice).
"An Islamic woman came up to us, and she removed her veil from her face and hugged me, and said Allah had been good to me because he had taken my son, and he was giving life to others," Wanda Boria said.
The Muslim woman's son was in a coma - not with her, and not with Allah, she explained.
Seven years later, Boria's family still misses him every day, his parents said.
"That person who got his heart, if he's still alive, he'd better be a good man," Wanda Boria said. "Our son was a very good man."