A fallen hero will return home today, but his sacrifice will not go unnoticed.
The Lutz Patriots and Troop Support Alliance invite you to show your support today as Army 1st Lt. Ivan Lechowich is escorted from MacDill Air Force Base to his final resting place in Riverview.
Lechowich, 27, was killed on September 28th after his unit was hit by an IED in the Ghazni Province in Afghanistan, just days after his first born, Natalie Marie, was born.
Two of his fellow servicemen were also killed.
His baby girl was born ten days early, in time for her father to see her one time by Skype.
“We were able to set up a Skype accountand everyday since the baby was born until the day he was killed, we were able to talk to him at least once, sometimes twice. He saw the baby 8,000 miles away,’ said Rick Lechowich.
Ivan Lechowich graduated from the IB program at King High School in Tampa and went on to earn a degree in History from the University of Florida.
Like his father, he wanted to serve his country so he joined the Army where he led a successful military career.
His comrades remember his discipline and his sense of humor.
Rick Lechowich said, “They found and defused a vast majority if IED’s, the number escapes me, but about half or more were found and defused and that’s what Ivan did, so they were doing the hardest job in the hardest place and he wouldn’t have had it any other way.”
“He did not have to do what he did. He chose his career freely, he chose the risk freely and he loved his country very deeply,” said Lechowich’s father, Rick Lechowich.
Lt. Lechowich has been awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Medal, NATO Medal, Combat Action Badge and the Sapper Tab.
The Fallen Hero Escort route: (starts around 9:45am)
– Leave MacDill AFB Bayshore Gate
– North on Bayshore Boulevard
– North on S. Magnolia Ave.
– East on Platt St.
– North on Plant St.
– East on Kennedy Blvd.
– South on Ashley St.
– East on Jackson St.
– North on N. Jefferson St.
– East on Twiggs St.
– North on Channelside Dr.
– East on S.R. 60
– South on Kings Ave.
– West on Lumsden Rd.
– South on Providence Rd.
– Arrive at Serenity Meadows Memorial Park: 6919 Providence Road in Riverview