A moving funeral Friday brought hundreds of people to remember an Iowa soldier. Staff Sergeant Shane Koele, a 25-year old soldier from Hartley, was killed in a land mine explosion in Afghanistan on March 16th. Hundreds of people filled the bleachers at the Hartley Melvin Sanborn gymnasium to honor him. Brigadier General Robert Pollman presented Koele’s wife, Cheryl, with military honors. Pollman says there were four medals, including the Bronze Star for bravery, and the Purple Heart for receiving wounds in battle. “He’s a tremendous soldier and did a tremendous job,” Pollman says. The other two awards he presented were the Global War on Terrorism and the Expeditionary Global War on Terror medals. Sergeant John French went through basic training, two deployments and reenlisted to go to Germany with Koele. He says Shane was a top flight soldier French says he knew Koehle personally and professionally, and knew that more than anything he’d loved his family — his daughter and his wife. Several of his former commanders and fellow officers praised Koele as they fought back tears. Koele had served a tour of service in Iraq prior to being deployed to Afghanistan with Task Force Peacekeeper. Sergeant Koele was given the three volley salute after the flag from his casket was given to his wife.Citizens lined Main Street in Hartley waiving American flags as the funeral procession made its way to the cemetery. Fire departments from several northwest Iowa communities displayed their flags along Highway 18. The Spencer Fire Department flew a 50-foot version of Old Glory on its ladder truck to honor of the fallen soldier.
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