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U.S. Soldier Gave Life to Save Afghan Girl

Sgt. Dennis Weichel, (pronounced WY-KLE) 29, died in Afghanistan last week as he lifted an Afghan girl who was in the path of a large military vehicle barreling down a road. Weichel, a Rhode Island National Guardsman, was riding along in a convoy in eastern Afghanistan when some children were spotted on the road ahead.

The children were picking up shell casings lying on the road. The casings are recycled for money in Afghanistan. Weichel and other soldiers got out of their vehicles to get them out of the way of the heavy trucks in the convoy. The children were moved out of the way, but an Afghan girl darted back onto the road to pick up some more casings right in the path of a speeding 16 ton armored truck.

Weichel spotted the girl and quickly moved toward her to get her out of the way. He succeeded, but not before he was run over by the heavily armored truck. The girl was safe, but Weichel died of his injuries. Dennis was 29 years old and had arrived in Afghanistan only a few weeks before.

Staff Sgt. Ronald Corbett, who deployed with Weichel to Iraq in 2005, said, "He would have done it for anybody," adding, "That was the way he was. He would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. He was that type of guy."

Possible Preaching Angles: (1) Cross, Death of Christ—this is a powerful way to illustrate Christ's sacrificial love for us, although one major difference is that he died for us while we were yet sinners and enemies. (2) Love for others; Sacrificial love; (3) Character; Integrity—Notice the stress on Sgt. Weichel's character in this story, especially in the final quote. He didn't just do this in the spur of the moment; this sacrificial act flowed out of who he was.

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