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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Damon Winkleman: 1986-2009

Community remembers its native son, killed in action in Afghanistan

Thousands lined the country roads in this rural community. Children, dismissed from school that day, waved American flags as their community's native son, Damon Winkleman, passed by in a funeral procession four miles long. Hundreds of mourners — family, church members and friends — had just attended a memorial service at St. John Lutheran Church, Lakeville (McZena), Ohio, where Damon had served as an acolyte and was voted Luther League president.

Sgt. Maj. Richard  Winkleman, member of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Lakeville, Ohio, whose  son, Damon, was killed in action in 2009.
Sgt. Maj. Richard Winkleman, member of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Lakeville, Ohio, stands with a photo of his son Damon, who was killed in action in 2009.
"The outpouring was an inspiration," Richard Winkleman, Damon's father, recalled of that September day. "People showed their support, not just because he was a veteran but because he had grown up here. I am blessed in one aspect, but not so blessed in the other."

The youngest of the three sons, Damon dreamed of someday working in the medical field. His deployment to Afghanistan as a combat medic with the 1/508 4th Brigade 82nd Airborne, Fort Bragg, provided him with the training and practical hands-on experience he wanted. But he wanted to do more, his father said. So he volunteered to be on his unit's advanced team at the frontline.

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