Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Widow keeps mission and love going on and on

After his death, combat veteran's family keeps his mission going
By Mary Baer
Jodi Mohrmann Anchor Managing Editor of special projects
April 23, 2018
"Most people dream of the kind of love that I had and I feel blessed that even though it was cut short I had that much time with him." Kristle Helmuth
MIDDLEBURG, Fla. - Nate Helmuth came home from war with a traumatic brain injury and PTSD, but instead of giving up, the combat veteran chose to help others like him. With his wife, Kristle, and their two children by their side, they worked tirelessly helping one military veteran at a time.

The couple, both U.S. Army veterans, also instilled patriotism and country into their children.

Photos of their 12-year-old son Nate Jr., assisting in lowering the Stars and Stripes at Coppergate Elementary went viral last fall as Hurricane Irma approached.

Now, the father that taught his son Nate Jr. and his daughter, Kinley, to respect the flag, is gone.

"I think we always knew that there was that chance that things would be more serious than they were and maybe we would lose him," Kristle said.

They lost Nate just four months ago. On Jan. 6, the 36-year-old unexpectedly collapsed in their home; he lost his life to the wounds he suffered years earlier in Iraq.

Besides Nate's PTSD and his traumatic brain injury caused by an explosion in Iraq, he inhaled chlorine.

"Basically it just shredded his lungs," said Kristle. "He couldn't breathe."

They were injuries that dashed his dream to be a Blackhawk helicopter mechanic.
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