Funeral held for Chicago area soldier

June 25, 2010 3:23:29 PM PDT
A soldier from Naperville was laid to rest Friday. Army Private First Class Gunnar Hotchkin was killed earlier this month while serving in Afghanistan.

Hotchkin and another soldier in his unit died when their tank was hit by an improvised explosive device.

The community came out to honor a devoted husband and father who joined the military to provide for his family after he was laid off as a local builder. Many are long-time family and friends who remember Hotchkin since he was a child.

"He was very serious and would walk around the community house, and growing up he was absolutely adorable. And he grew up to be a really lovely young man," said B.J. Chimenti, family friend.

"It was devastating to have it be somebody that you know. And hopefully it makes the war a little more reality for people. But it's hard for everyone," said Theresa Forthofer, family friend.

In December Hotchkin was deployed and last week in Afghanistan he was killed by a roadside bomb.

"We spent the morning talking about what it would be like if we were to switch positions with the family. And it's pretty close to home," said Jay Tuthill, family friend.

Governor Pat Quinn was on hand as well to make sure, he says, that Hotchkin is not forgotten.

"All of us have to understand there are special people among us who answer the call to duty and protect our Democracy, and we shouldn't forget there are soldiers in dangerous places fighting for our freedom," the governor said.

Hotchkin is survived by his wife and three young children ages 10, 8, and 4.

The Patriot Guard escorted Hotchkin's body from Naperville to the funeral home in Hinsdale.

A memorial has been set up in Hinsdale which will go directly to support his family.


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