The search for 12 missing Marines was called off Tuesday night.
The mother of one of those Marines lives here in Southern Colorado. Laurie Allen’s son was on one of the two helicopters that crashed during training last Thursday off the coast of Hawaii.
When 11 News called to ask her about the search being called off, she had yet to be notified by the military.
We sat down with her in her Fountain home, before the Coast Guard decided to call off the search.
At the time of the interview, she was still holding out hope that her son is alive, telling 11 News reporter Alyssa Chin, "He's a Marine, they’re trained to survive."
"When they came to the door, then I really, you know, your heart just stops when you get that knock," Allen said.
Allen said her son Sgt. Jeffrey Sempler, 22, is turning 23 on February 1. He's scheduled to be home for that month on leave.
"He's always been able to make me smile and laugh. You know, it seems like everything is falling apart, there he is, you know. He could put a smile on my face," Allen said.
He signed up for the Marines while he was just a junior in high school.
"He decided he had to pick the hardest thing to do because everybody said, ‘Oh it's the Marines, it's the toughest, you're not going to be able to do that, it's really hard and tough.’ And he's like, 'Watch me, I’ll do it,'" Allen said.
She posted on her son's Facebook page a day after the crash writing, “Waiting for you to call me and tell me everything is okay. I love you."
The five-day search for the missing Marines didn't turn up much. Some debris and the four life rafts from the helicopters were found Tuesday, but Coast Guard officials said there were no signs anyone had ever been on any of the rafts.
“I would like the other families to know that I’m praying for them and that I’m hoping for them too, that I know what they're going through," Allen said.
Wednesday night, there will be a candlelight vigil for Sgt. Sempler. His family is planning to be there.
That vigil will be at 6 p.m. at the American Legion Post 38, located on 6685 Southmoor Dr. in Fountain.