Bret’s Story

Bret Michael Poklar, born on December 11, 1990, was the son of Terry and Susan Poklar and was passionate about three things – his family, sports and the Marine Corps.

A life-long resident of Willoughby, Ohio, Bret was very active in sports from a young age, including baseball, football and wrestling. Bret was involved in sport his whole life and wrestled at West End YMCA and played football for Willoughby, coached by his father and Greg Wickman. With Bret as the quarterback, the Willoughby Wolfpack, even won the 12-year National Championship in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Though he loved all sports, baseball was his passion and he played Varsity baseball for Coach Woods at Lake Catholic High School. During this time, Bret discovered that he had a heart for the community and did volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity as well as committing to care for a young boy in Brazil named Caio Henrique Lima through Compassion International. (Caio is now eight years old, and his care is now being coordinated through Bret’s mom.)

Bret’s passion for helping others led to him enlisting in the Marine Corps. After completing boot camp on February 11, 2011, Bret went to Pensacola, Florida, for his Military Occupational School (MOS) as an air traffic controller. Upon completion of school, Bret was issued permanent orders to remain at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina. During his assignment, Bret graduated from the Corporal’s course, became qualified on radar data, final control, tower data, ground control, local control and was designated as a Tower Supervisor. He also accumulated many awards, including: The Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, a Certificate of Appreciation from MATSG-21, NAS Pensacola, Florida, and a certificate of Achievement on the Combat Fitness Test for an outstanding score of 295. At the end of the Corporal’s course, Bret also received his air traffic control license.

The morning of February 23, 2013, was a day of tragedy. Bret was injured in an off-duty accident on his base at Cherry Point, and then transferred to a hospital in Greenville, North Carolina. Family, friends and hundreds of Marines from Cherry Point and Camp LeJeune came to the hospital to pay their respects.

On February 27, 2013, the doctor informed the family that Bret’s brain had stopped functioning. On February 28, 2013, at 10:00am, the doctors removed Bret from life support and he passed away immediately with his family present. Bret continued to be a hero even in death as an organ donor. Bret was buried at the Willoughby Memorial Gardens Cemetery with full military honors.

Bret is survived by his father, Terry, mother, Susan, (Rick) , his brother, Jesse, (Amber, Maya, Nathan, Brody, Nina) Selby, Camryn, Andrea and Jamie Byrne, Jennifer and Ashley Ours, Amy, Brad and Zack Smith, Todd and Raymond Tompkins, Randy and Lea Stroud, Gary Stroud, and Myrna Stroud.
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