MIDLOTHIAN – November 3, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn today attended a memorial in honor of Sgt. Christopher Abeyta at Bremen High School in Midlothian. Sgt. Abeyta and two other servicemembers were killed in action on March 15 when their vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device in Kot, Afghanistan.
“This is a great loss for Sgt. Abeyta’s family, friends and neighbors throughout Illinois.” said Governor Quinn. “Sgt. Abeyta is among our state’s true heroes and we will remember him, and all Illinois servicemembers, who have lost their lives protecting our democracy.”
Sgt. Abeyta, 23, was a resident of Midlothian. He enlisted in the Army National Guard in May 2002 and graduated from Bremen High School in Midlothian in 2003. He deployed with Company D, 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry based in Woodstock, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He was on his second deployment. His first deployment was in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from October 2003 to February 2005.
In addition to the events to honor Sgt. Abeyta, the Village of Midlothian was awarded the Patriot Award by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense organization which recognizes companies that cooperate with and support National Guard and Reserve Soldiers. The village was nominated by Cpl. Russel Zohfeld of Company G, 634th Brigade Support Battalion based in Crestwood.
Also at the event, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion presented awards to Midlothian resident Frank Bock for his service in World War II, including the Pacific Campaign Medal and the American Campaign Medal. He also received awards for his son, Jerry Bock, who was killed in action during his service in the Vietnam War. The awards for Jerry Bock include a Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge and a Bronze Star.
Governor Quinn also received a book, A Tribute to Men and Women of Midlothian in World War II, from the Midlothian Historical Society.