Past Honored Heroes

Ted BendaHonored in 2023

Families of the Fallen has selected the third hero to be honored in 2023 by our organization. We are proud to announce the selection of Iowa State Trooper Ted Benda as the third new hero to be honored by our organization at the Guthrie River Ruckus Music Festival, in Guthrie Center Iowa. Ted began his career in law enforcement is 2005 when he attended the DPS 31st Basic Academy. He was assigned to the Special Enforcement Operations Bureau with DCI. In 2016 Ted transferred to the Iowa State Patrol and was assigned to Post 8 out of Mason City. He later transferred to Post 10 out of Oelwein. Ted was very much a family man who enjoyed the outdoors. He loved taking his daughters hunting and fishing with him and teaching them what they would need to know. On October 14th, 2021 Trooper Benda was involved in a single vehicle accident while responding to assist the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office with a wanted subject. Trooper Benda succumbed to his injuries on October 20th, 2021. Ted left behind his wife, Holly, and 4 daugher’s Madilyn, Avery, Vivyan, and Sylvia. Sylvia was just 3 weeks old at the time Ted passed. Even after his death Ted continued his public service by being an organ and tissue donor, where he will continue live on in the lives of his recipients. Ted’s family will join the family of Army Sgt. Kampha Sourivong, fellow Trooper Jim Smith, and many other past honored hero families to be recognized and honored at the Guthrie River Ruckus Music Festival’s July 27 - 29, 2023. Thank you for your sacrifice, Ted Benda. May God bless you and your family, and may you rest in peace.

Jim SmithHonored in 2023

Families of the Fallen has selected the second hero to be honored in 2023 by our organization. It is with utmost honor that we announce the selection of Iowa State Trooper Sgt. Jim Smith as the second hero to be honored by our organization at Guthrie River Ruckus Music Festival. Sgt. Jim Smith began his career with the Iowa State Patrol and graduated the 19th Basic Academy in 1993. Sgt. Smith was proud of and humbled with his 27 year position with the Iowa State Patrol. Jim also devoted his life to Jesus Christ and was humbled by his service to our savior. Both are evident in one of Sgt. Smith’s quotes: "The blessings of my life as a State Trooper, like the blessings of my life as a Christian, are much the same. I am broken, lowly, humbled, and then God saves me." On Friday, April 9th, 2021 Sgt. Smith and a team of Law Enforcement Officers were attempting to take a man into custody, for severely assaulting another Police Officer in Grundy Center Iowa. Sgt. Smith and the team he was leading entered the assailant’s house to take him into custody. Upon law enforcement entering the house, the assailant opened fire on the team and Sgt. Smith was struck by the gunfire. Sgt. Smith died from his injuries. Jim’s family will join the family of Army Sgt. Kampha Sourivong, the family of one hero yet to be named, and many other past honored hero families to be recognized and honored at the Guthrie River Ruckus Music Festival to be held July 27th -29th in Guthrie Center Iowa. Thank you for your sacrifice, Sgt. Jim Smith. May God bless you and your family, and may you rest in peace.

Kampha B. SourivongHonored in 2023

Families of the Fallen has selected the first hero to be honored for 2023 by our organization. It is with great honor that we announce the selection of Army Sgt. Kampha B. Sourivong as the first hero to be honored by our organization at Guthrie River Ruckus Music Festival, to be held July 27th -29th in Guthrie Center Iowa. Kampha enlisted in the Army National Guard’s Company C of the 1st Battalion 168th Infantry at the age of 17. Kampha deployed to Iraq in 2006 with the 1st Battalion 133rd Infantry out of Waterloo, IA. Kampha was proud to be a soldier and was proud of his Laos-American heritage. Kampha was known for his love of vehicles, being a ladies’ man, and most importantly, a momma’s boy. Kampha died September 30th, 2006 from injuries he sustained when his vehicle received small arms fire in Asad, Iraq. Kampha was just 20 years old when his life was cut short from his service to our great country. Kampha’s family will join two other new families and many other past honored hero families to be recognized and honored at the Guthrie River Ruckus Music Festival’s this July. Thank you for your sacrifice, Sgt. Kampha B. Sourivong. We will never forget the sacrifice you made for our country, and may you rest in peace.

Jamie BuentingHonored in 2022

Jamie worked for TCI cable and AT&T cable prior to his career in law enforcement. Jamie always had a passion for law enforcement and joined the underwater search and rescue team in 1997.  A couple years later he launched his law enforcement career when he was hired with the Lake City Police Department. Officer Jamie Buenting served with the Rockwell City Police Department for 8 years but had a total of 12 years of Law Enforcement service.  Jamie’s other career accomplishments included being a member of the Regional Special Emergency Response Team, a certified Firearms Instructor through both the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy and through the NRA Law Enforcement Division.  Jamie also owned and operated Iowa Firearms Safety & Tactics. On Thursday, September 12th, 2013 Officer Jamie Buenting and other officers responded to a residence where a subject wanted on felony warrants was believed to be located.  This subject refused to exit the home and barricaded himself inside.  After about a 4-hour standoff this subject fired a single round striking Officer Buenting, killing him.  The subject remained barricaded and ultimately surrendered.  He was convicted of 1st degree murder and is serving a life sentence in prison.  Officer Buenting left behind his wife Amanda, his son Ethan, and his daughter Kalie. The family of Officer Jamie Buenting will join the families of Army Specialist Dustin Colby, Keokuk County Deputy Eric Stein, and Naval Chief Petty Officer Jon T. Tumilson to be honored at the Country Thunder Iowa Music Festival that will take place in Forest City, Iowa June 11th thru 13th, 2022. Thank you for your service to our country and for your sacrifice Officer Jamie D. Buenting. May God bless you and may you rest in peace.

Jon T. TumilsonHonored in 2022

Jon was a Member of the elite fighting group known as the Navy Seals.  Jon served in numerous deployments with the Navy Seals and earned two Bronze Stars for his heroic achievement in a combat.  It was always a dream of Jon’s to serve his country.  When he was 15 years old he wrote a school paper detailing his plans to spend a 20 year military career serving as a Navy Seal.  Sadly, this dream was cut short on August 6th, 2011 when the CH-47 Chinook Helicopter he was riding in was shot down in Wardak province, Afghanistan, killing all those on board. He was returned home and laid to rest in Rockford, IA with full military honors. Thank you for your service to our country and for your sacrifice Chief Petty Officer Tumilson. May God bless you and may you rest in peace.

Eric SteinHonored in 2022

Eric Stein served 11 years as a Deputy Sheriff with the Keokuk County Sheriff’s Office in Iowa.  He had obtained the rank of sergeant on the department.   Eric’s other achievements include certifications as a Clan-Lab Officer, EMT/PS, firefighter, active shooter, crucial response team, as well as a critical advisor for the Keokuk County Narcotic issues. Eric had many hobbies to include rodeo activities, but his favorite activity was being a father to his daughter Shelby. On April 4th 2011, Sgt. Stein and two other members of the Keokuk County Sheriff’s Office went to a rural address in Keokuk County to question a man about an incident from the previous night.  This coward open fire on the Deputies and Deputy Stein was shot and killed. The family of Deputy Stein will join the family of Naval Chief Petty Officer Jon T. Tumilson to be honored at the Country Thunder Iowa Music Festival that will take place in Forest City, Iowa June 11th thru 13th, 2022. Thank you for your brave service to our country and for your sacrifice Sgt. Eric Stein. May God bless you and may you rest in peace.

Dustin ColbyHonored in 2022

On August 27th, 2004 Specialist Colby was part of a convoy that was departing Camp Dodge, Iowa, bound for Ft. Hood, Texas for training that would prepare the unit for deployment to the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Shortly after departing Camp Dodge the tractor trailer that Spc. Colby was traveling in wrecked, tragically killing both soldiers inside.  Spc. Colby left behind a 4 month old daughter. Dustin Colby is remembered by his mother as a person that could change the mood in the room, simply by his presence.  His infectious smile and charm were his most shared gifts and had a positive effect on those around him.  Colby joined the Iowa National Guard because he wanted to make a difference in the world, he wanted to do good. The family of Dustin Colby will join the families of Keokuk County Deputy Eric Stein and Naval Chief Petty Officer Jon T. Tumilson to be honored at the Country Thunder Iowa Music Festival that will take place in Forest City, Iowa June 11th thru 13th, 2022. Thank you for your service to our country and for your sacrifice Spc. Dustin Colby. May God bless you and may you rest in peace.  

Cody HaleyHonored in 2021

LCpl Cody Haley served his country as a United States Marine in Weapons Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines of Camp Pendleton, California. He joined the Marine Corp when he was a senior in high school. He was deployed in the fall of 2016 and returned in May of 2017. He died in a training accident at Camp Pendleton, California on Friday, August 4, 2017. During this deployment, LCpl Cody Haley participated in a training where he received the nickname, “Fastest Gun in the West.” Thank you for your sacrifice LCpl Cody Haley. God bless you and may you rest in peace.

Steve WernerHonored in 2021

Steve Werner, 34, of Dubuque, IA, passed away Friday, April 27, 2018 in Dubuque, in a vehicle accident. Steve was born June 22, 1983 in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Steve joined the Army on July 17, 2007 as a proud 19D Cavalry scout, serving almost 8 years and deploying with the 6th Squadron 8th Cavalry Regiment of 4th Brigade Combat Team 3rd Infantry Division 3 times. Steve was an invaluable asset and everyone's best friend, his indomitable spirit and ability to make anyone laugh carried his team through more times than can be counted. Steve's awards include the Combat Action Badge, 3 Army Commendation Medals, the Army Achievement Medal, 2 Meritorious Unit Citations, 2 Army Good Conduct Medals, the National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Army Service Ribbon, NATO Medal and the Drivers Mechanics Badge. "Until Valhalla brother, we will see you on the Fiddlers Green." Steve was honorably discharged in 2015.  He then earned his EMT certification, and began working at Paramount Ambulance in August of 2017, a job he loved. Shortly after, he joined the Peosta-Centralia Fire Department as a volunteer. Steven was in an ambulance on the way home from transporting a patient to Chicago when it struck a semi-trailer.  Steven was pronounced dead at the scene.  He is survived by his wife, Krysta; his children, Kaden, Rilan, Nolan and Gracen; and his parents, Dan and Lugene Werner, of Cottage Grove, MN. Steven will forever be remembered as a true hero who answered his final call doing what he loved to do.  

Eric HosetteHonored in 2020

Lt. Eric Hosette 33, of Charlotte, made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty on Saturday, January 5, 2019 at a grain bin explosion. Eric was a 2003 graduate of Camanche High School. He later attended the Trinity School of Nursing for his paramedic certification. Most recently attended Waldorf College to attain his AA in Fire Science. Eric’s lifelong dream was to be a firefighter and started as a volunteer with the Camanche Fire Department from 2003-2012. He joined the Clinton Fire Department in September of 2006 and was promoted to Lieutenant in August of 2017. Eric was also a member of the Charlotte Fire Department starting in 2012, where he was promoted to Chief. Lt. Hosette will forever be remembered as a true hero who answered his final call doing what he loved to do and knew that his fellow firefighters would be ready to “take it from here.” Thank you for your Sacrifice Lt. Eric Hosette. God bless you and may you rest in peace.

Sgt. Nathan Robert FieldHonored in 2019

Sgt. Field was a member of the 415th Military Police Company out of Pocahontas, Iowa, and was serving on deployment with the 414th Military Police Company out of Joplin, Missouri, at the time of his death. Nathan was killed on January 7, 2006, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Nathan's family remembers him as a hero with a kind and great heart and as someone who had a passion for life. He is missed every day. Thank you for your sacrifice Sgt. Nathan Field. God bless you and may you rest in peace.

Sgt. Anthony “Tony” BeminioHonored in 2019

Sgt. Beminio served on the Des Moines Police Department. He lost his life in an ambush style shooting. His killer has been sentenced with life in prison without parole. Tony was a dedicated husband and father to three - Cameron, Haley, and Max Beminio. He loved attending his kids' events, riding his Harley Davidson, and deer hunting when he was able. Thank you for your sacrifice Sgt. Anthony "Tony" Beminio. God bless you and may you rest in peace.

Justin S. MartinHonored in 2019

Officer Justin Martin was a Police Officer for the Urbandale Police Department. He was killed in the same ambush style shooting as Sgt. Beminio. He believed that if officers of the law did their job correctly, every day, either on or off duty, they could make a difference in the community they serve. He was so proud to be part of such a great profession. Thank you for your sacrifice Justin S. Martin. God bless you and may you rest in peace.

Shelly “Shell” Lair-LangenbauHonored in 2019

Shell was a flight nurse for Mercy Air Med. On January 2, 2013, she boarded a Mercy Air Med helicopter responding to a call: this was her final mission. Mercy Air Med N445MT went down near Ventura, IA; there were no survivors in the crash. Her passion was to help people. When she was not working, she was focused on her family - daughters Liberty and McKenna and husband Jay. Thank you for your sacrifice Shelly Lair-Langenbau. God bless you and may you rest in peace.

Russell PiehlHonored in 2019

Russell was a flight medic with Shell for Mercy Air Med. On January 2, 2013, he also boarded the Mercy Air Med N445MT helicopter that went down near Ventura, IA. This was his final mission. Russ left behind his wife Melody and their six children - Kayla, Jesse, Tricia, Brandon, Courtney, and Cassie. Thank you for your sacrifice Russell Piehl. God bless you and may you rest in peace.

Spc. Joshua L. KnowlesHonored in 2019

Spc. Knowles was a member of the 1133rd Transportation Company out of Mason City, Iowa. Spc. Knowles as killed on February 5, 2004, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While in high school, Joshua engaged in paintball battles with Families of the Fallen, Inc. committee member, Dustin Buck. We are so proud to remember him and honor his family at this festival. Thank you for your service Spc. Joshua Knowles. God bless you and may you rest in peace.