It is with great pride that the Joshua Chamberlain Society announces the adoption of its 4 th JCS Hero, Lance Corporal Erik Heldt, USMC. The grandson of a World War II veteran, LCpl. Heldt graduated from Hermann High School as a star basketball and football player. In 2003, at age 24, he entered the United States Marine Corps because he believed that protecting our way of life was the right thing to do in the wake of the September 11 attacks.
A mature leader amongst his peers, Erik was a comical Marine with a bright personality and upbeat attitude that could make any situation better. He could make field operations and all-night missions seem much less stressful and he always made his fellow Marines feel comfortable and welcome.
On the evening of June 16, 2005, while driving alongside his company commander, Capt. John W. Maloney, an improvised explosive device exploded directly underneath the Humvee in which Erik was traveling. He paid the ultimate price in our fight against terrorism in Ramadi, Iraq at the age of 26.
Erik left behind his only child, seven year old daughter, Taylor Mae. As you know, the Joshua Chamberlain Society has always had as its goal the support of severely wounded military service members, and the also families of killed-in-action heroes. We are excited and honored to have the opportunity to show the Heldt family how much we appreciate their family sacrifice by supporting Taylor.
Taylor was introduced to the Joshua Chamberlain Society at our 3rd Annual Shoot for the Troops on September 10, 2011. As her “Nanna” Gail explained at the Shoot, and as everyone in attendance can attest, Taylor is a happy, great kid. She is in the 8th grade at Washington Middle School and a straight A student. She is a cheerleader, takes tumbling and dance classes and she loves to hunt! Indeed, the first year she started hunting (with Erik’s father, Gary), she hunted deer from a stand built by Erik and she shot her dad’s 30 ought 6.
As Taylor’s college years approach, Gail was worried about how she was going to be able to bridge the gap between the government assistance that is provided to children of killed-in-action service members for college expenses, and what college actually costs. As our support, we have already made a significant donation to a 529 plan to help cover Taylor’s college expenses and plan to continue to fund that account to get it to the point that we are able to completely cover any shortfall she has in college expenses. In short, w e look forward to helping Taylor with her college expenses and otherwise letting her know that the members and friends of the Joshua Chamberlain Society appreciate the hole that is left in her heart when her dad sacrificed all on our behalves.
We continue to look to grow our family of heroes and thank you for the support you have provided that makes all of this possible.