View Full Version : Life RIP Spc. Heck

02-10-2010, 10:44 AM
Just heard about a member of my platoon, home for two weeks of R&R, dies at a young age in a car accident. Be safe everyone, hug your loved ones, slow down in bad weather, hug your loved ones again, life is short.

Thoughts and prayers brother.


COLUMBUS JUNCTION, Iowa - Funeral services will be Thursday for a soldier home on leave from assignment in the Middle East. Luke Heck, 20, was killed along with three others in a two-car head-on crash early Saturday.

His smile could light up a room. Columbus Community High School lost a real friend.

"Luke Heck was a quality young man," recalled Superintendent Rich Bridenstine. "Luke was thoughtful."

The accident was tragic and ironic for those who knew and loved the Army reservist. Home on a short leave, the MP who provided security in the war-torn Middle East died on Iowa 70 just outside Columbus Junction.

"My wife and I talked about that," said Jay Hauenstein, Heck's junior and senior high music teacher. "It's just not right that he came home where you would think he would be safe."

Investigators say a car driven by Francisco Chariz-Ortiz, 25, crossed the center line and struck a car driven by Ezra Barnett, 29, Columbus Junction. Both men were killed.

Heck was a passenger in Barnett's car. Another passenger, Sharon Vandel, 42, Conesville, also died. Nichole Vandel, 21, Conesville, was airlifted to University Hospitals in Iowa City. There was no information on her condition Monday afternoon.

There's scattered debris along the snowy road. Remnants of both cars are littlered along a ditch. And for Luke Heck's father, Todd Heck, unimaginable grief. The assistant fire chief was among first responders who were called to the accident scene.

"It's something that you never know when you respond," said Fire Chief Lynn Mincer, a lifelong friend of the family. "It's a small town. Everybody knows everybody. There's always that chance."

The campus community knew a lot about Luke Heck's warmth. Warmth that was renewed during a visit to his high school just last Thursday.

Photos tell the story of an active young man. From sports to singing, speech to studies, he was a part of their lives. A 2008 graduate with a bright future.

"A soft, warm-hearted giant of a kid," Hauenstein remembered.

Memories are now even more important. They're remembering a real-life hero, good student and friend.

"There was only one way you could look at him," Chief Mincer said. "Good, all good."

"The fact that he wanted to serve his country," Bridenstine concluded. "That he died too young."

The accident remains under investigation by the Iowa State Patrol.

02-10-2010, 10:48 AM
My heart goes out to him and his family.

02-10-2010, 12:49 PM

02-10-2010, 12:53 PM
What a shame. RIP

02-10-2010, 12:59 PM
Damn. :huh: That must be devastating for his friends and family.

02-10-2010, 01:14 PM
That sucks. RIP sir.
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02-10-2010, 01:16 PM

Hog's Gone Fishin
02-10-2010, 01:38 PM
Damn. Home from Iraq and gets killed. RIP.

Extra Point
02-10-2010, 04:40 PM
Sorry for the loss of your good friend, and for the family's loss.

Simply Red
02-10-2010, 04:44 PM
RIP :(

02-10-2010, 04:51 PM
I'm getting together with a few other vets tonight down at the local, we'll hoist a memory toast and have a moment of silence in his honor.

So very sorry .............

02-10-2010, 04:55 PM
Sorry to hear this, prayers and thoughts to the family and friends of this young man.

02-10-2010, 05:08 PM
Crazy how life works out sometimes. The guy put his life in danger everyday to keep our country safe only to be taken in a car crash during a break from duty. Life is crazy and unexplainable sometimes. Sorry for your loss and thank you all for your great service to this country. Prayers to his family.

siberian khatru
02-10-2010, 05:22 PM
Life really isn't fair.

Terrible. RIP.

02-10-2010, 05:36 PM
I know some of that guys' family.

Bad deal.

02-10-2010, 10:33 PM
How sad. Prayers to his family and friends, from myself and Aces.

02-10-2010, 10:42 PM
Bad deal. Home on leave from the Middle East and die in a random car crash. Not fair at all. RIP, Luke Heck.

02-12-2010, 05:49 PM
I'm getting together with a few other vets tonight down at the local, we'll hoist a memory toast and have a moment of silence in his honor.

So very sorry .............

Done ...

Easy 6
02-12-2010, 07:52 PM
Thoughts & prayers on the way man, to get home safely only to fall to something like that, thats too sad.

My sober condolences.

02-12-2010, 09:33 PM
Prayers to his family.

02-13-2010, 12:17 PM
Although I believe God does everything for a reason, sometimes it is very hard to understand that reasoning. My thoughts and prayers go out for you as well as the family. Stay safe and God bless.