Jesse Austin Trader was born November 29, 1993, to Ted and Ruby (Gigi) Trader. The eldest of three, he had a special friendship and loving bond with his sister, Desiree, and brother, Jacob.
Jesse was a much anticipated child. After five years of pregnancy attempts, Ted and Gigi came to a realization, based upon doctor’s evaluations, that we may never have a child. Lo and behold, after a blood test in preparation for surgery on Gigi’s foot, the nurse informed us the surgery would need to be rescheduled, because we were finally expecting. At that moment our lives changed forever; Jesse Austin Trader was on his way.
As a child, Jesse was eager to learn everything. Fishing was his first love. He loved to be on the water enjoying the experience of the fighting fish on the end of his rod. Sports came shortly after fishing. He wrote in the bill of every baseball cap Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” A three sport athlete, Jesse played Pop Warner football, Little League baseball, and Boys Club basketball at a very young age.
Jesse dedicated his life to Christ at age 11 and was baptized at Grant Avenue Baptist Church in Corvallis, Oregon, which he attended from infancy until the day he was dispatched to the Big Windy Fire in Merlin, Oregon. Jesse lived his faith, always coming to the rescue of his friends, and at one point saving his best friend from suicide. He was born to lead and rescue; it was a gift from God. As he grew, so did his love for Jesus Christ.
Jesse was a tremendous athlete, mentor, and friend. He lettered in both varsity football and baseball for three years and was recruited to Western Oregon University to play baseball. Western Oregon University offered courses in fire science, but Jesse was eager to get on with his career. He had dreams of being a detective in the fire department. After finishing his freshman year, he applied to the elite fire suppression program at Chemeketa Community College. Jesse was selected into the program as one of the top three candidates out of 175 who applied. He was posthumously recognized as an honorary graduate of the program.
Jesse’s zest for life and his love of God and family showed every day in how he led others to Christ. Jesse wanted everyone to do the right thing. Desiree and Jacob sincerely lost their mentor. Jesse’s friendliness, humor, spontaneity, fun loving nature, and passion for life will be remembered forever by all who were a part of his life. Jesse was a hero and a young man of bravery and faith. God has selected the best.