Lancaster Purple Heart Recipient Honored As Loving Father, Son

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LANCASTER, Ohio (AP) — A U.S. Army soldier and Ohio native killed last month during a combat mission in Afghanistan has been honored at a funeral outside Columbus.

The Columbus Dispatch reports 29-year-old Sgt. Joseph Collette was remembered Friday at Faith Memorial Church in Lancaster as a loving father, husband and son and as a well-regarded member of an explosive ordnance disposal team based at Fort Carson, Colorado.

He was promoted and awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star after his death March 22.

Collette married his wife, Caela, shortly before being deployed to Afghanistan. He hid 30 love letters around the house for his new wife and planned a more formal wedding in Florida after his deployment.

He is survived by two children from a previous relationship and two stepdaughters.