|From Tulsa World tulsaworld.com
Funeral set for Coweta soldier who died in Germany
by: DAVID HARPER World Staff Writer
Sunday, December 28, 2008
12/28/2008 3:05:19 AM
A Tuesday funeral has been scheduled for a soldier from Coweta who died Dec. 20 in Germany from a noncombat illness.
Army Pfc. Coleman Wayne Hinkefent, 19, will be honored at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Assembly at Broken Arrow, 3500 W. New Orleans St.
Visitation will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at Hayhurst Funeral Home in Broken Arrow.
Hinkefent's parents, Eric and Belinda Hinkefent, flew to Germany to be at his bedside. They sent online updates to friends and loved ones on his condition.
Eric Hinkefent said Saturday that "it's hard to lose a son" but that the family is "very confident in where Coleman is right now: face-to-face with the Savior."
He expressed gratitude to all of those who have expressed their sympathy for the family's loss and to those who prayed for the soldier.
Coleman Hinkefent was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division at Baumholder, Germany.
He had been in Iraq until he recently became ill. He was flown to Germany for treatment.
He had a diagnosis of liver failure and was undergoing treatment for acute leukemia, Eric Hinkefent said Saturday.
"He fought right to the very end," said Hinkefent, who was with his son when he died.
Coleman Hinkefent will be buried at Floral Haven.
Eric Hinkefent said Saturday that his son decided to serve his country after the death in 2007 of a childhood friend, Army Pvt. Cody Montana Carver of Haskell.
Carver and two other soldiers were killed in Salman Pak, Iraq, when enemy forces engaged their unit with small-arms fire and an improvised explosive device, the Department of Defense had reported.
Eric Hinkefent said Saturday that after Carver's funeral, Coleman Hinkefent said: "Dad, he did something. I want to go enlist tomorrow."
Hinkefent said of his son's determination to serve, "Once he set his mind to it, that was the end of it."
He said his son had "no regrets about his decision. He believed in what he was doing and was proud of it."
|From Tulsa World tulsaworld.com
Honoring a soldier's life
by: MANNY GAMALLO World Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
12/31/2008 2:46:25 AM
BROKEN ARROW — A Coweta soldier who felt that the Army brought out the best in him was remembered Tuesday as a young man who loved his family and those around him.
Several hundred mourners packed The Assembly at Broken Arrow for a two-hour celebration of the life of Pfc. Coleman Wayne Hinkefent, 19, who died Dec. 20 in a Homburg, Germany, hospital.
He suffered liver failure, and was undergoing treatment for acute leukemia.
Two weeks before he fell ill, Hinkefent was serving in Iraq, having arrived there in July. He had enlisted in the Army in January.
Hinkefent was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division at Baumholder, Germany.
Several family members and friends offered perspectives into his life, including his father, Eric Hinkefent, who was at his son's bedside when he died.
The father, sometimes choking with emotion, chronicled for mourners his son's early life, his years of schooling and his passion for hockey.
In later years, Eric Hinkefent said, his son's interests would turn to car racing, where he made a name for himself.
It was that place behind the wheel of a roaring machine that led to his son's being assigned to drive the Multi-Role Armoured Vehicle and the Bradley Fighting Vehicle in Iraq, the father said.
Eric Hinkefent said his son loved the Army. He completed his basic training at Fort Benning, Ga.
Hinkefent shared with mourners a letter he received from his son just three days before he completed basic training.
In that letter, the young Hinkefent said, "I have changed for the better in many ways."
The soldier credited the Army with giving him the "will to do my best, no matter what the task."
Eric Hinkefent added that his son was a "burst of joy" with a "winsome spark."
Randy Mannschreck, a family friend, spoke of camping trips that he and his own son took with Coleman Hinkefent and how often he and Hinkefent would have heart-to-heart talks.
Dabbing his tear-filled eyes on occasion, Mannschreck said Hinkefent often talked about personal perseverance and courage.
"Coleman was joyous," and he displayed a fierce spirit that was infectious, Mannschreck said.
"Everyone liked him," he said.
Noting that his own son, Brig. Gen. Kendall Cox of the Army Corps of Engineers office in Dallas, served in Iraq, he said he was proud of his son's selfless service, "and I know all of you feel that way about Coleman."
Hinkefent's family was presented with a Bronze Star for his meritorious service in Iraq.
After the ceremony, a long procession of cars, led by a motorcycle escort of the Patriot Guard, journeyed to Floral Haven Memorial Gardens for Hinkefent's burial.
He was honored with a 21-gun salute and the playing of taps.