Monday, April 02, 2007

Neale Shank reported killed in Iraq

(WANE-Fort Wayne-April 2, 2007) A one-year mission in Iraq was cut short for a local soldier who died last week in Iraq. The family of 1st Lieutenant Neale Shank was notified of his death on Saturday.

Neale's family says he had a passion for the military ever since high school. The 25-year-old graduated in 1999 from Concordia Lutheran High School, and was active in the school's ROTC program.

"He was a fine student at Concordia. He was an outstanding representative of our ROTC program, and we're happy that he was able to represent Concordia. We're very proud of the service he's been able to give his family and to his country. We'll continue to keep his family and friends in our thoughts and prayers," says Terry Breininger of Concordia Lutheran High School.

He was deployed in July of 2006, serving what was to be a one-year tour-of-duty. His sister says that Shank supported the war, and felt that he was making progress and bettering the lives of Iraqi's.

Neale felt so strongly that he even wanted to stay longer than his one-year assignment.

"He hoped that he would contribute to those kids growing up in a better environment. He met the people of Iraq and he felt that he'd be able to contribute for them to live in a democratic society," says Major Tibor Bierbaum of the Concordia ROTC.

The Shank family says memorial services will be held at Concordia at a later date. He would have turned 26-this month. Neale also has a brother in the military: he's currently stationed in San Diego.

Neale's mother says that he died doing what he loved, which is something not everyone can say.

From WANE 15