Paul, father of Medal of Honor recipient Jared Monti, has died

RAYNHAM — On Veterans Day after the Taliban killed his son, Paul Monti visited Sgt. The grave of 1st Class Jared Monti at Bourne National Cemetery.

No flag marked the flat stone of his son, nor those of any other servicemen buried there. National regulations prohibit this.

Paul Monti, a longtime earth science teacher at Stoughton High, didn’t rest until he reversed that policy. It took three years and a lot of help, but he did it.

“He wasn’t going to stop,” his sister, Jean, said on Saturday. “He didn’t do it just for Jared. He did it for all the soldiers.”

Paul Monti died Friday at a Brockton hospice. He was 76 years old.

He will rest alongside his son, family members said. It is due to another Star of gold relative, Denise Anderson of Mansfieldwho had the law changed so that parents could be buried with their adult children in military cemeteries.

Country song inspired by mourning

A widening circle of tributes grows stronger as news of Paul’s death spreads to his students, veterans, active duty service members and their families. It includes songwriter Connie Harrington, who heard a story on NPR about Paul driving Jared’s black 2001 Dodge Ram to feel closer to his son.

Harrington helped channel that grief into “I drive your truck,which won Song of the Year at the Country Music Awards. reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts for Lee Brice in 2013. It’s still an anthem for anyone who has lost someone they love.

A song inspired by a Raynham father's continued use of the truck that belonged to his son, Medal of Honor recipient Jared Monti, won Song of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards, Thursday, November 7, 2013 Army Sgt.  1st Class Jared Monti, 30, was killed on a mountain in Afghanistan in 2006 while trying to save the life of a fellow soldier.  Her father, Paul Monti, of Raynham, still drives the truck in her memory.

Brice posted a tribute to paul to the 2.3 million people who follow his Facebook page.

“Mr. Paul drove Jared’s truck to remember his son and to feel closer to him,” Brice said. “With the windows down, [G]atorade on the floor, dog tags in the rear view mirror, he drove it proudly and unwittingly created a song so many could relate to by sharing his story.”

A hardworking and loving father

Paul Monti’s daughter, Niccole, uses “I Drive Your Truck” as a ringtone.

Reached on Saturday, she described him as a good dad who coached Jared’s football teams and never missed a softball game.

“He’s done so much for his community, and really, so much for the state of Massachusetts,” said Niccole Monti.

Paul Monti talks about his son Sgt.  First Class Jared Monti, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.  LaLiberte Elementary School presented the sixth annual Raynham's Veteran's Day Salute to our American troops on Wednesday, November 6, 2013.

How did a high school geology teacher have the courage to take on the Department of Veterans Affairs and the tenacity to keep fighting until he won? Niccole said he learned it in his bones from his immigrant parents. He learned this while delivering newspapers and doing odd jobs growing up. He learned this by working two and sometimes three jobs to supplement his teacher’s salary.

“My father grew up very poor,” she says, “nothing was given to my father.”

Paul comes from a family of 13. He was No. 5, said Jean, who is No. 11.

Massachusetts Fallen Heroes posted a memory, saying “Paul left us to join his son Jared in heaven.”

Paul Monti, below, is embraced by Sergeant.  Matt Cusson at the cemetery.  Paul is the father of Jared C. Monti.

The organization works to supporting Gold Star families. This is the name of families who have lost someone during military service.

“Mr. Monti took all of this pain and used that energy to do a lot of good in supporting the Gold Star families, the veterans and Jared’s legacy,” the remembrance said.

Massachusetts Fallen Heroes created a fund for the familywho had to deal with large medical bills.

A Visit to Governor Charlie Baker’s Deathbed

The tributes began before Paul’s death.

On Wednesday, Jean Monti let Gov. Charlie Baker’s office know that Paul was dying. The governor was planning to visit on Friday, but came to Paul’s bedside on Thursday after being alerted he was not expected to live that long. He had been diagnosed with mesothelioma and suffered from heart failure, according to his sister.

“He knelt down next to my brother, it was like ‘Wow,'” Jean said. “He didn’t come as a politician, he came as a friend.”

Jared’s extended family had minted coins in his honor. The family gave away Baker a year ago, and the governor keeps him in his pocket, Jean says.

On Veterans Day, Paul Monti of Raynham overlooks the newly unveiled monument honoring his son, Medal of Honor recipient Sgt.  First Class Jared C. Monti, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2006.

Raynham remembers

You won’t get far in Raynham without seeing a Jared Monti tribute. There is a playgrounda reception hall at the American Legion and one bridge.

Joe Pacheco, a Raynham manager, said he believed Paul’s greatest contribution was not just to bring the sacrifices of our service men and women to the fore, but to keep them there.

Paul Monti unveils a sign for the Jared C. Monti Bridge in Raynham.

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Micaila Brittoformer Raynham Veterans Duty Officer, quickly got to know Paul Monti when she took the job.

“Paul is very, very low key, doesn’t really want to talk about himself,” Britto said on Saturday. “He wants people to know about Jared.”

The whole nation knows Jared. President Barack Obama presented Jared’s posthumous Medal of Honor to Paul and Janet Monti in a 2009 White House Ceremony. Jared’s story appears in “the outpost“, a book by CNN presenter Jake Tapper who was made into a movie. A deeply reported account appears in The Atlantic magazine.

President Barack Obama presents the 2009 Medal of Honor to Janet and Paul Monti, the parents of Sgt.  Jared C. Monti of Raynham.

The official quote outlines the actions that earned him the nation’s highest military honour.

Jared Monti was a forward targeting scout on his second tour of Afghanistan when Taliban fighters attacked his unit’s position atop “Hill 2610”.

“As he continued to direct fire, Staff Sergeant Monti personally engaged the enemy with his rifle and a grenade, successfully disrupting an attempt to flank his patrol. Staff Sergeant Monti then realized that one of his soldiers was lying wounded in the open between the advancing enemy and the patrol position.

With complete disregard for his own safety, Staff Sergeant Monti twice attempted to move from behind rock cover in the face of relentless enemy fire to rescue his fallen comrade. Determined not to leave his soldier, Staff Sergeant Monti made a third attempt to cross open ground under heavy enemy fire. In this last attempt he was mortally wounded, sacrificing his own life in an effort to save his fellow soldier.”

Jared C. Monti

“He just had a way with him”

Britto remembers Paul Monti bringing him a lucky bamboo on his first day on the job. It was the act of a man who knew he would push her to do her best for Raynham’s vets.

“He touched the lives of so many people, from little children, to Cub Scouts, to Girl Scouts planting flags, to the Governor and so many elected officials,” Britto said. “He just had a way with him.”

At press time, the family were preparing for the funeral, with the wake to be held at Chapman’s funeral and cremations in Bridgewater from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays and funeral mass at St. Anne’s Church in West Bridgewater remains to be programmed.

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