East Texas soldier killed in Iraq remembered by family - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

BRUSHY CREEK (KLTV)

East Texas soldier killed in Iraq remembered by family

Another East Texas soldier has been killed in Iraq. Army Specialist Heath Pickard, 21, of Brushy Creek was killed in a mortar attack last Thursday. His body is being flown back to East Texas for burial services and will arrive tomorrow morning. Today, KLTV 7's Danielle Capper spoke to his family about their hero.

Heath Pickard loved his country. That love took him to join the service just days after graduating from Frankston High School in 2006.

"He was a very loving young man. He loved his country and God," said Margaret Pickard, Heath's grandmother, crying.

Heath was killed last Thursday in a mortar attack, exactly one month after going to Iraq.

"He's just an awesome young man...he loved baseball, football, hunting and fishing. And he loved that baby and his wife so much," said Margaret.

Heath was stationed in Alaska, where he met his wife, Sara. They welcomed their first child, Ethan, in June. They visited East Texas just weeks after his birth.

"We really enjoyed it. It's something we'll have to remember for the rest of time," said Margaret.

Austin, his older brother, is also in the Army. He said Heath always tried to be the best.

"He was really trying to get ahead to where he could say that he made something of his Army career," said Austin.  

They spoke of his devotion and said they thought he would do it all over again and join the Army.

"We would love to have our men and women home, but not before the job is done, and that the men and women that have sacrificed there life that they have not sacrificed it for no reason," said his cousin, Jennifer.

On Heath's myspace many messages have been left - one from his wife, which reads in part:

'Hello, my love. I want to let you know I will miss you forever. I love you and I always will. And I will tell our son all about his brave Daddy and how much he loved him and would have loved to see him grow.'

The message ends with, 'I will miss you forever.'

Frankston High School is dedicating this week's football game against Arp in Heath's memory. Funeral services have been set for this Saturday morning at 10:00 am at Evangelistic Temple in Palestine.

Danielle Capper, reporting. dcapper@kltv.com

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