Meet our sixth Hero, Army SFC. Ofren Arrechaga. Sgt. Arrechaga married Seana Minikhiem on September 1, 2007 and shortly thereafter deployed to Iraq for the third time. When he returned home for R&R he and Seana welcomed the birth of their new son Alston into the world on March 28, 2008. Ofren then returned to [...]
Christopher Van Etten, of O’Fallon, Illinois is the son of Wayne and Leigh Van Etten, both retired Air Force veterans. After graduating from O’Fallon Township High School in 2009, Chris enlisted in the Marine Corps on July 13, 2009.
He was a rifleman, assigned to Charley Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines from 29 Palms California during that battalions deployment to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. LCPL Van Etten’s duties included working with his bomb sniffing dog, “Harley.” While deployed to Afghanistan, his battalion was assigned one of the most dangerous and deadly areas for US forces, the Sangin District of Helmand Province. On June 13, 2012 Lance Cpl. Van Etten was on a night combat patrol on a hill overlooking an Afghani village when a massive improvised explosive device (“IED”) detonated. As Chris and other Marines in the squad responded to that explosion and tried to assist a wounded colleague, a second IED went off. This second IED killed Chris’s best friend, CPL T.J. Baune of Minnesota, as well as blew off both of Chris’s legs.
The rehabilitation and recovery since that fateful day has been extremely challenging but Chris has met it with the same intensity and determination he displayed in the Marines. He received his prosthetic legs on August 13, 2012 and was medically retired from the Marine Corps at the rank of Corporal, the next year, 2013. Chris was thrilled when, through the efforts of many of his Marine Corps friends and colleagues, his bomb dog, Harley was retired from the Corps at the same time, becoming Chris’s service dog. The pair remain inseparable.
The 24 year old has stayed extremely active since he retired from active duty. He is quite a fitness buff and has modeled extensively. In October, 2013 he hand-cycled the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C.. In addition to modeling, Chris is hopeful to get into acting and motivational speaking.
The Joshua Chamberlain Society could not be happier to introduce our 7th JCS Hero, United States Marine Corps Cpl. Chris Van Etten.
Keep up with Chris
We have been trying for sometime to get Jeremy admitted to the wonderful VA nursing home in Clarksville which is only 20 minutes from his parents’ home. Thanks to our Tennessee Commissioner of Veterans Affairs, Many-Bears Grinder, Jeremy is now there and doing so well. It is a state of the art facility with all […]
JCS/Nashville would like to thank Home Lift for their due diligence and exceptional service in building and installing a custom curved stairway lift for our 5th Hero, CW3 Jeremy Miller. Due to severe breathing problems, CW3 Miller had extreme difficulty ascending his stairway in his home. In fact, his wife, Cindy had to literally push [...]
Phoenix Textiles employees raised money to adopt two JCS families for Christmas. Phoenix has been a frequent supporter of JCS and our local heroes. This past Christmas the employees "paid" to decorate a Christmas tree in the office. That money was used to purchase gifts for two families. Thank you Phoenix employees for your continued [...]
KF Landscape crews provided free labor to help local JCS Hero remove shrubs and ornamental grass from his yard. Thank KF for your support of our Heroes.
A benefit was held Saturday September 9 at the Arnold VFW Post 2593. With an attendance of more than 250, the mostly Cleveland High School alums, danced, took 50/50 and raffle chances and bid on Silent Auction items to raise money for the Joshua Chamberlain Society. Through the efforts of the SSGT Ron Bozikis Memorial [...]
Phoenix Textile Employees Do It Again! Local O'Fallon company Phoenix Textiles, thru it's employees, raised over $1,800 dollars to help purchase a trailer for JCS hero Michael Shuster. Michael has been renting a trailer every couple of weeks to haul his mower to his moms house to mow for her. He is hoping with this [...]
McCarthy Building Company's "Heart Hats" have been working at the family home of Sgt. Michael Shuster for the last week. This group of volunteers was comprised of IT Department workers from all over the country. The team helped in finishing the basement, fixing and painting walls, replacing light fixtures and fans, and various other "to [...]
Elks Lodge #9 Second Annual BBQ Contest On Saturday, May 20th, the Elks Lodge hosted its second annual BBQ contest to benefit JCS. JCS has been the benefactor of several fundraisers by this lodge. We are grateful for the support of the Veterans Committee, and the members of Lodge #9. Thank you for your commitment to [...]
A local St. Louis company, Patriot Sunrooms, stepped up in a big way to support a JCS Hero. On Saturday, employees of Patriot Sunrooms volunteered to install all new windows, storm doors, and gutter guards in Josh Eckhoffs house. They also power washed the home and planted flowers. The materials and labor were generously donated. […]