Visitation for Mokena soldier Aaron Toppen held in Orland Park

Visitation for a suburban soldier killed in an apparent friendly fire accident was held Monday in Orland Park at Parkview Christian Church.
Visitation for a suburban soldier killed in an apparent friendly fire accident was held Monday in Orland Park at Parkview Christian Church before his funeral Tuesday.

A steady stream of mourners came through to pay their respects at the wake of Pfc. Aaron Toppen, the 19-year-old Mokena native killed in Afganistan on June 9.

"It's been beyond moving. I didn't know an old body like this could cry so many tears," said Jack Winter, uncle.

Toppen's body arrived at Chicago's Midway Airport Saturday. The outpouring of support from everyone in the community has been staggering. On Monday, nearly 100 Mokena fire and police officials stopped by to offer condolences.

"We're all protectors, we all have inherent job risks and what Pfc. Toppen did was above and beyond. He should be remembered for that," said Chief Steven Vaccaro, Mokena Police Department.

Gov. Pat Quinn was also among those in attendance.

"He's a special hero who had a servant's heart and gave his life for our country, and we owe his family an eternal gratitude for giving us Aaron," said Gov. Quinn.

It's been an exceptionally difficult time for Toppen's family. His father also died unexpectedly just three months ago.

"I do believe Ron and Aaron are together right now. In some crazy way the grief is doubled up from losing both father and son, there is comfort in that we believe they are also together," said Pastor Tim Harlow, Parkview Christian Church.

His funeral will be held at the same church Tuesday at 10 a.m., and he will be buried at St. John's Cemetery in Mokena.

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