Family, friends remember soldier from Tamaroa, IL killed in Afghanistan

Soldier from Tamaroa, IL killed in Afghanistan
Published: Nov. 13, 2016 at 2:30 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2016 at 6:24 PM CST
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TAMAROA, IL (KFVS) - Hearts are heavy in one Heartland community after a soldier from Perry County, Illinois was killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan on Saturday, November 12.

The Department of Defense reports 20-year-old Pfc. Tyler Iubelt, of Tamaroa, died of the injuries he suffered from an improvised explosive device in Bagram, Afghanistan.

Iubelt was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas.

The U.S. Army reports Iubelt's awards and decorations include the Purple Heart Medal, Bronze Star, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, and Combat Action Badge.

According to the Tamaroa Fire Protection District, Iubelt, is a recent graduate of the Tamaroa Grade School.

In the hall for everyone to see, the grade school had a memorial: a picture and a flag. They want the kids who attend Tamaroa to remember Iubelt's story.

A teacher we talked to said that this is hitting the kids pretty hard, especially with it being so soon after Veterans Day.

"I think it's kinda hit home for these kids a little bit to think about..." said Cindy Opp, who taught Iubelt in middle school. "What we were saying the meaning of Veterans Day and not all of them get to come home and, sadly, Tyler's that won't be...not going to be, not going to be coming home."

His middle school graduating class was a class of 14 people and he then went to Pinckneyville High School where he played sports and graduated in 2015.

The two schools are going to come together on Thursday to remember Iubelt.

The plan is now that during the middle school basketball, the high school band will help play the National Anthem.

The school is also considering putting together an education fund for his daughter.

Iubelt had only been deployed to Afghanistan as a motor transport operator for a few months prior to his death.

A friend of Iubelt's described the mood of the town as somber and said the community is still in shock.

"No one could believe it in such a small community that something like that would happen," Matthew Doerflein said. "A town of a couple hundred people really and you just don't expect something like that to effect such a small community and small town."

Iubelt is survived by his wife and six-month-old daughter along with his parents and three brothers.

Funeral services are pending at Searby Funeral Home in Du Quoin.

Iubelt's body was brought state-side in Dover, Delaware on Tuesday, November 15.

Back in Tamaroa Iubelt's friends placed a board in a gas station where the community would be able to remember him on it.

"It's just something a few of us came up with that we wanted to do to honor him cause to us he was family," said Doerflein.

The board had messages written by community members and his friends. The friends painted phrases like "Gone, never forgotten" and "Not all Brothers are blood."

"He treated us all like brothers and family so we thought that message would be appropriate from, just us," said Doerflein.

Since the start of October, nine Americans have been killed in Afghanistan.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for this latest attack.

One other soldier, Sgt. John W. Perry, 30, of Stockton, California was killed in the attack. Two contractors were also killed.

The explosion also injured 16 other US Service members and one Polish soldier participating in the NATO mission, according to US Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

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