Sergeant Nicole M. Gee, a beloved U.S. Marine, made the ultimate sacrifice for her country in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021, at the young age of 23. Her Gold Star aunt, Cheryl Juels, is honoring her niece’s memory through a new foundation dedicated to recognizing the courageous and selfless sacrifice made by Sgt. Gee.

Juels emphasized the importance of remembering that “freedom isn’t free” in an interview, highlighting the sacrifices made by service members like Nicole who put their lives on the line for the country. Nicole came from a military family background and was inspired to join the Marines by her high school sweetheart, Jarod, who also served in the military.

Nicole and Jarod were married in 2016 and stationed together at Camp LeJeune in North Carolina. Nicole, who was known for her dedication to physical fitness, achieved a black belt in jiu-jitsu during her time on a Navy ship. She was deployed to Afghanistan shortly after being promoted to the rank of sergeant and was actively involved in the evacuation efforts during the American withdrawal from the country.

Despite the challenging circumstances and lack of support from leadership, Nicole volunteered tirelessly to help with the evacuation efforts, working long hours and risking her life to ensure the safety of women and children in Afghanistan. Her commitment to service and sacrifice is being carried on through the Nicole M. Gee Memorial Foundation, which aims to support military families and promote health and wellness outreach.

Juels fondly remembers Nicole as a dedicated and driven individual who would have wanted her family to come together and celebrate on the Fourth of July. Nicole’s legacy lives on through the foundation established in her honor, serving as a reminder of the brave soldiers who make the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom of their country.