Hundreds attend Tech Sgt. Dale Mathews Funeral - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Hundreds attend Tech Sgt. Dale Mathews Funeral

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Family and friends of Tech Sergeant Dale Mathews gathered at New Prairie High School for his funeral, Saturday. Mathews died on January 7th when his helicopter crashed off the coast of England.  

Those in attendance included U.S. Representative for Indiana's 2nd Congressional District Jackie Walorski and U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly. The family of Jesse Lee Williams, a soldier from Elkhart who died on December 13, 2013, was also at the funeral. 

Larry Gussman was Mathew's stepfather and raised Mathews since he was three. 

"His very last words when we spoke on January third was saying how he was looking forward to coming home but how he would miss flying." Gussman said.

 Technical Sergeant Mathews served nearly 20 years in the United States Air Force.  

"Men like Dale have served honorably, proudly and doing what they loved to do and then give the ultimate sacrifice that you and I may remain free," said Pastor J. L. Moore.  

"Everybody in the United States Air Force knew somebody special came across their way when he came into their service," said Senator Donnelly.  

Mathews was involved in the rescue of nearly three hundred lives during his time in the Air Force. Those rescues included not only American soldiers, but people including children from the countries he was stationed in. He served tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan. His impact there was evident as Iraqi soldiers he had trained sent their condolences to the family. 

"I know Dale would probably not call himself a hero as would most veterans," Moore said. "They don't really think themselves as being a hero, but I do." 

Mathews received a gun salute from the Veterans of Foreign Wars of Rolling Prairie. He is survived by his wife Kimberly Mathews and their two children as well as his two step children.  He was just months away from retiring. Mathews will be buried at the Arlington National Cemetery on February 5th, 2014.  

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