Jim Carney

Nearly 10 years after he disappeared while boating off the coast of the big island of Hawaii, an Army officer from Norton will be honored with a memorial service at the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery.

The ceremony for 2nd Lt. Jason Henderson, a member of the Hawaii National Guard, will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday at the cemetery in Rittman. It will include full military honors.

Henderson, 30, left on a 12-foot Kodiak raft equipped with an outboard motor Aug. 14, 2002, to go fishing. He never returned and no trace of his body nor his raft were found.

A 1990 graduate of Norton High School, Henderson served 10 years in the Army Special Forces. He had just graduated from the University of Hawaii and been commissioned as an officer in the Hawaii National Guard when he disappeared.

He was scheduled to continue Army officer training the following October in Georgia.

The U.S. Coast Guard, Army National Guard, Civil Air Patrol and other officials searched for Henderson over a 220,000-square-mile area of the Pacific Ocean before suspending the search Aug. 21, 2002.

Henderson’s mother, Jan Henderson, 59, a home health-care worker from Akron, said his son, Kamaile Jason Henderson, 18, will attend the service Thursday. He also has a daughter, 12-year-old Maiya Henderson, of Kentucky, she said.

His wife has since remarried.

“This is hard for me,” Jan Henderson said. “I still in my heart want to believe he is still out there somewhere.”

Because he had served a decade in Special Forces, she believes it is possible he might have gone on a special mission and never returned, she said.

The service, she said, “is closure for his family. He deserves the honor. He served a long time in the military. ... I felt like we needed to do something for him.”

She said a marker and a headstone will be placed at the cemetery.

Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or at jcarney@thebeaconjournal.com.