RITZVILLE, Wash. -Last month a marine from Richland was among 16 service members killed in a plane crash.
This week, Dietrich Schmieman's family celebrated his life in a unique way- a way they say he would have appreciated.
Coming together through tragedy-- Dietrich's Marine Special Ops team, trained skydivers themselves, traveled across the country to Ritzville to remember their friend-- and support his family.
This was the second time jumping for Dietrich's dad, Eric. His first jump with his son.
This marks Dietrich's mother, Susan's first time.
An experience she says will live with her forever.
"We have a couple of heavy days, with Dietrich coming home and facing that reality. It's a painful truth. this hopefully will live in our hearts and kind of soften that painful truth," Susan says.
Susan now wears a memorial to her son around her neck.
But rather than grieve the loss of Dietrich-- the skydive gave her an opportunity to celebrate him.
"We needed this jump to have some fun, a different kind of excitement, and I don't know what it is, but there is a little bit of peace that comes with this, and I know that Dietrich's girlfriend Morgan when she jumped a couple weeks ago she said the same thing, she said after she jumped there was a sense of peace, and I feel a little more at ease, I'm not sure why that is."
Susan adds that the skydive-- and being able to spend time with Dietrich's team-- has allowed them to discover a new side of their son.
And they couldn't be more proud.
"When Dietrich left home, I didn't see the potential in him. And the stories they've shared with us revealed a side of Dietrich we can't explain. He had a love for people. He cared for his friends and he would do anything for them and vice versa, and yea, the stories have been heartwarming, and they're balm for the soul, they really are. "