Fallen Soldier’s Final Journey Home

Barbara Ann Kelley, CBSTampa.com

RIVERVIEW, Fla. (CBS Tampa)  An American Hero will be coming home for the final time on Thursday, October 13. Lt. Ivan Lechowich was killed September 28 in Ghazni Province in Afghanistan, just days after his wife gave birth to their first child.

The fallen hero will be received at MacDill Air Force Base at 9:05 a.m. Thursday. The public is invited to honor him by lining the streets for the Hero’s Procession on his final journey from the base to Serenity Meadows Funeral Home in Riverview.

Lechowich, born in Oklahoma, graduated from the International Baccalaureate program at King High School and then from the University of Florida. He was an avid Gator fan and dedicated husband who loved to spend time with his family, friends and two dogs J.D. and Hunter.

Recently when a chopper containing over 30 U.S. service members and SEALs went down, Lechowish and his team were the first to reach them. He has received the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal and NATO Medal.

Lechowich is survived by his wife, Jen; newborn daughter Natalie Marie; sister, Erika Lechowich; parents, Richard and Gina Lechowich; paternal grandparents, Richard Lechowich and Joan Lechowich; and his maternal grandparents Alvin and Frances Ochsner.

There will be a private Visitation on Thursday. A public visitation will be held Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7:30 to 9 p.m. at St. Stephen Catholic Church at 5049 Bell Shoals Road in Valrico.

A funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at noon Saturday at St. Stephen Catholic Church with Father William Swengros officiating.

The Hero with be laid to rest with military honors at Serenity Meadows in Riverview.

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