On the heels of an enthusiastic homecoming celebrating the safe return of the local Illinois National Guard unit, death ushered in the harsh reality of war.

An Effingham soldier, Christopher Donaldson, lost his life along with nine other military personnel when the helicopter they were in crashed in Afghanistan during military action.

The Effingham area has seen its young men and women go off to fight the war on terror since it began three years ago, but up until now our community has been spared the worst — the death of one of our own.

There have been local soldiers wounded, there have been area soldiers who have seen their fellow comrades die in combat, but Donaldson’s death brings the harshest side of war to our front doorsteps.

We weep for his family. Losing a son, a brother, a grandson is the worst life can throw at anyone.

We hope his loved ones can find solace in the fact this brave young man served us all, each and every one of us, by heeding the call of duty to his country. He died doing what he loved, flying in service to his country. Some people never find their callings in life, but Donaldson had found his niche, said his mother.

Our hearts go out to his parents, brothers, extended family and friends as they deal with their loss. We hope they will find some comfort in the fact that the community feels their heartbreak and is there to offer whatever support is needed.

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