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Carrington Mourns 141 Soldier

Jessen, Holly. "Carrington Mourns 141 Soldier." Jamestown Sun, 24 September 2004.

All of Carrington is mourning the loss of Lance Koenig, the 141st Engineer Combat Battalion soldier who was killed in Iraq Wednesday.

“It’s a very sad time,” said Jewel Linderman, owner of Rose Garden Floral and Greenhouse in Carrington.

Staff Sgt. Koenig, 33, was killed by an exploding improvised explosive device or roadside bomb. He was investigating a suspicious object while on patrol south of Tikrit when the the bomb detonated, according to a National Guard press release.

Koenig was a member of Company B, which is based in Jamestown, and is the third 141st solder to be killed by an exploding IED. Spc. Philip “Phil” Brown, 21, Jamestown, and Spc. James Holmes, 28, East Grand Forks, Minn., died in May.

Koenig lived in Fargo with his wife, Angela, and two children, Alexandra, 12, and Brooklynn, 2. However, he was a 1989 Carrington High School graduate, and many of his family and friends live there.

The news of Koenig’s death stopped many people from Carrington in their tracks, Linderman said. It’s something that has touched everyone in the community.

“It’s a small community, she said, “everybody knows everybody.”

Koenig’s best friend, Dr. Michael Page, is struggling to understand what has happened, he said. Page returned from Iraq Wednesday after spending 90 days there on a medical mission.

Page met Koenig when he was in the first grade, he said. They grew up together and were rarely separated. In fact, Koenig was like a brother to him, and Page’s father thought of him as a son.

“He was considered part of my family,” Page said.

Koenig was a hard worker and a great athlete, Page said. He had a quiet strength and was an exceptional leader.

“Lance was exceptional at almost everything he did,” he said.

Page is worried about Koenig’s wife and two daughters, he said. He wants to do what he can to help take care of them.

“Lance put them above everything in his life,” he said.

Although Koenig lived in Fargo, he wanted to move back to Carrington, Page said. He wanted to raise his children and retire there.

“He felt a strong bond with Carrington and the people that are here,” he said.

Jill Van de Hoven, owner of The Looks For You Hair Salon in Carrington, graduated from Carrington High School with Koenig in 1989. He is the first 1989 CHS graduate to die.

“He will be missed very much,” she said.

Koenig was very easy to get along with, Van de Hoven said.

“He was very personable,” she said.

She also recalled his skill at sports.

“He was good at anything that he did,” she said. “And every sport that he did he gave 100 percent and did well.”

Van de Hoven said she spoke to Koenig’s wife on Thursday. She was devastated and in shock.
“You don’t wish that on anyone to go through that,” Van de Hoven said. “... I pray that God will give Angie strength to go through this.”

Scott Miller, Carrington resident, said it was very sad when a 141st solder from Jamestown was killed. However, this tragedy has been even more difficult.

“This is the first time anything has hit so close to home,” he said.

Kerry Anderson, manager of Central City Lumber in Carrington, agreed.

“It’s one thing to watch it on the news but it’s a little different when it’s someone from your area,” he said.

It’s hard to know what is right, Linderman said. On the one hand, it wasn’t right that so many innocent Iraqi people were being killed by Saddam Hussein. But it isn’t good that so many innocent soldiers are dying in Iraq either.

“I really don’t know what the answers are,” Linderman said. “I guess as far as I’m concerned we need to trust in our military and trust in the Lord.”

A memorial service for Koenig is planned for 11 a.m. Monday at the Hope Lutheran South Campus Church in Fargo. Funeral services will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church in Carrington at a later date.

The 141st also plans to remember Koenig at a memorial service in Iraq, according to Lt. Col. Bob Fode, battalion commander of the 141st. The service is planned for sometime next week.

Sun staff reporter Holly Jessen can be reached at (701) 252-3120 or by e-mail at hollyn@jamestownsun.com

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