Jesse Lhotka
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'He was the absolute life of any crowd'

BY ALEX FRIEDRICH
Pioneer Press


ALEXANDRIA, Minn. — Stacey Lhotka was dreaming about her husband, Jesse, on Sunday morning when the phone rang. It wasn't even 8 a.m. in Minnesota. He was always laughing about forgetting the time change since he had been stationed in Iraq.

It would be the last time the newlyweds would talk.

Sgt. Jesse Lhotka was killed the next day by a roadside bomb in Baghdad. On Tuesday, she gathered with her family to grieve and share their memories of a man with a sense of humor and determination to succeed. But all she remembers about that phone conversation two days earlier is that it was a "great call."

The 24-year-old Lhotka grew up in Appleton, Minn. As a kid, family members recall, he was prankster and a master creator and organizer, building tree forts, creating a play, or a inventing a game for his siblings — for which he'd make and change the rules as he pleased, of course.

At Lac Qui Parle High School he played football and was senior class president. He was even voted a homecoming attendant. His fellow classmates voted him "Class Clown."

He joined the National Guard in July 1999. It helped pay for school.

Lhotka met his wife through a fellow Guard member, a man who's serving in Lhotka's unit in Iraq. It was a blind date, but that didn't deter Lhotka, a romantic.

"He greeted me at the door with a white rose," she said.

He was about six years younger than her, so Stacey Lhotka thought he was "too young at the time."

But Lhotka turned out to be very mature for his age. Since the age of 14, his father-in-law said, Lhotka helped his single mother raise his five younger siblings.

Mother Beverly Lhotka called him "the best big brother."

He also turned out to be a husband who had respect for old-fashioned ways and yet was not afraid to show sensitivity.

Stacey's father, Dave Walters, a 53-year-old who runs a trucking business in nearby Sauk Centre, recalled Lhotka's gratitude when he took the young man on a four-wheeling trip with some friends last spring.

Lhotka opened up to him on the way back home, Walters said. Lhotka told him his dad had never taken him hunting or four-wheeling, he recalled. Lhotka told Walters, "I've never gotten to do stuff like this. I just loved it."

Walters enjoyed the time alone with Lhotka so much that he eased up on the gas pedal to give them more time to talk.

"That's when we first bonded," Walters said.

When it came time to propose to Stacey, Lhotka visited Walters at his shop, and as good as asked for his daughter's hand in marriage. The two spent almost four hours having a heart-to-heart talk in the shop about the ins and outs of marriage in the face of a possible deployment to Iraq.

Lhotka finally proposed to Stacey when they were about to depart for a send-off party in Appleton in early September. A sister said he presented her with a dozen roses and a note asking her to "share my life with me."

They were married Sept. 18, 2004. At the wedding, Walters said, "we put (Iraq) on the back burner, but it was always on everyone's mind."

After he was deployed, Lhotka was able to take a five-day leave in mid-December, where he spent an early Christmas with his family.

He often e-mailed and called home, and after Iraqi elections, he called almost every day.

He never complained, family members said. The food was good, he said, and they recall he was always focused on how they were doing.

Stacey was drawn to him because of his lust for life, she said.

"He was the absolute life of any crowd he was in," she said. "He was the biggest socializer." He was supposed to serve until about April 2006, but the newlyweds had hoped his deployment would end sooner.

"He (once) said, 'When I return, our lives will be perfect,'" Stacey recalled Tuesday.
Published in Pioneer Press on Feb. 23, 2005.
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
92 entries
October 30, 2017
"Not many know this but today I re told a story. One involving a Hero and me. I was at your service in Appleton. I was 28 and never thought I would do what I was about to. I stepped up to say good bye to a Hero and to pay my respects and when I looked at you your wife and beautiful baby I instantly said he did this for me what can I do for him and that moment started my almost ten years in the Army. That night in Appleton I talked to the recruiter and did 4 years as a Redbull then re enlisted as 4th ID Active duty and deployed to Iraq and stayed where you had been. I drove those same routes and even Served under the same MN Guard unit in Iraq. Those years shaped me. And I thank you again for your sacrifice but now I will add thank you for being a major changing point in my life. I never knew you. You were close to an ex girlfriends family and I went to show my respects and ended up changing my life.Your name and face will never be forgotten. Today my niece had her school news program interview me for Veterans day. They asked why I served and I got goosebumps. I told them about you and how that was my reason. Thank you..."
Paul Blohm, Sgt
August 19, 2013
To the family of Sgt. Jesse M. Lhotka:

As you may know, the Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation has honored your loved one at its Memorial Day Sunday worship service (each year in May) … since the time of your fallen hero's ultimate sacrifice. We will continue to pay tribute to our nation's veterans … lest we ever forget!

Now we would like to honor you … as the next-of-kin … who have also paid a great price on the altar of liberty. On Sunday 29 September at 11:00 a.m. we will host a Gold Star Family Sunday.

I would like to extend to your family an invitation to honor us with your presence at worship … as we pay tribute to your sacrifice. Our pastor, U.S. Army Chaplain (Colonel-Retired) Kenneth L. Beale, Jr., will preach a message entitled, “By Dying, We Live.” The special music will be the husband/wife vocal/piano — Wickman Duo. Following the worship experience, your family is invited to attend a social time in our Fellowship Hall … with some light refreshments.

As this historic chapel has limited seating, we would be happy to reserve seating for you and yours. To do so, kindly call (651/286-7296) and leave a voice message indicating your veterans' name and the number of persons attending. For more information about the Foundation or driving directions to the historic chapel at Fort Snelling, visit our website at: www.fortsnellingmcf.org

If you are not able to attend, we pray that you would find comfort in knowing that our prayers are with you and all of the fallen heroes.

Respectfully,
Leila Campbell
Office Manager
Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation
email:info@fortsnellingmcf.org
Leila Campbell
May 17, 2013
Hello,
We would like to express our deepest condolences and also let the Lhotka Family know that we recently sent Care Packages to American troops in the war zones. Each box carried a dedication sheet that includes the name, service information and a photo of your loved one. We recognize that this is a humble tribute, but we wanted you to know that it is heartfelt and made possible by thousands of like-minded individuals in the youth hockey community and beyond. We will not forget. May God Bless you and keep you strong.
Sincerely,
Charlie Gili & Family
On Behalf of the US Hockey Players Support Our Troops Campaign
Charlie Gili
May 4, 2013
To the family of Sgt. Jesse M. Lhotka:
The Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation will be honoring your loved one at the non-denominational Christian Memorial Day Remembrance worship service at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, 26 May 2013. We will remember the casualties of the Global War on Terrorism from Minnesota … and the bordering states of Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Outside of the historic Fort Snelling Veterans Memorial Chapel will be a “Memorial Garden” filled with some 300 white crosses bearing the names of the war dead … including your loved one.

The Memorial Garden will be encircled with larger white crosses representing all of the wars of our nation's history and give honor to all who have served in the United States Armed Forces and made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy today. Wreaths will be placed at the foot of each 8-foot cross bearing the number of U.S. Service Members killed in each of America's conflicts.

I would like to extend to your family an invitation to honor us with your presence at worship as we pay tribute to the sacrifice made by your service member and family. Our pastor, Kenneth L. Beale, Jr., will preach a message entitled, “Freedom:Free, but Costly.” At the conclusion of the worship hour, all of the congregation will be invited to silently pay their respects at the garden and there place poppies at each of the crosses. A Memorial Rifle Squad of the Fort Snelling National Cemetery will fire vollies as the US flag is lowered to half-staff and Taps is played. Following your visit to the Memorial Garden, your family is invited to attend an informal reception (weather permitting) outside of the Chapel. The Memorial Garden will remain until 5:00 p.m. on Monday, 27 May (Memorial Day).

As this Christian worship service has traditionally been well attended, we would be happy to reserve seating for you and yours. To do so, kindly call (651/286-7296) and leave a voice message indicating your veterans' name and the number of persons attending. For more information about the Foundation or driving directions to the historic chapel at Fort Snelling, visit our website at: www.fortsnellingmcf.org Special rates for nearby hotels will be available. For more information call (651/286-7296) or email the office (info@fortsnellingmcf.org) and leave your name and contact information.

Also, beginning at dusk (8:30 p.m.) on Saturday 25 May through dawn (6:30 a.m.) on Sunday, 26 May, a “Prayer Vigil for Peace” will be held in the sanctuary of the Chapel. You are invited to stop by, light a candle and place it at the foot of your loved one's cross in the Memorial Garden … and then enter the Chapel for prayer.

If you are not able to attend, we pray that you would find comfort in knowing that our prayers are with you and all of the fallen heroes.

Respectfully,
Leila Campbell
Office Manager
Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation
email:info@fortsnellingmcf.org
web site:www.fortsnellingmcf.org
Leila Campbell
April 20, 2012
To the family of Sgt. Jesse M. Lhotka:
The Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation will be honoring your loved one at the non-denominational Christian Memorial Day Remembrance worship service at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday 27 May 2012. We will remember the casualties of the Global War on Terrorism from Minnesota … and the bordering states of Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Outside of the historic Fort Snelling Veterans Memorial Chapel will be a “Memorial Garden” filled with some 300 white crosses bearing the names of the war dead … including your loved one.

The Memorial Garden will be encircled with larger white crosses representing all of the wars of our nation's history and give honor to all who have served the United States and made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy today. Wreaths will be placed at the foot of each cross bearing the number of U.S. Service Members killed in each of America's conflicts.

I would like to extend to your family an invitation to honor us with your presence at worship as we pay tribute to the sacrifice made by your service member and family. Our pastor, U.S. Army Chaplain Col. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr., will preach a message entitled, “Lest We Forget Freedom's Cost.” At the conclusion of the worship hour, all of the congregation will be invited to silently pay their respects at the garden and place poppies at each of the crosses. A Memorial Rifle Squad of the Fort Snelling National Cemetery will fire vollies as the US flag is lowered to half-staff and Taps is played. Following your visit to the Memorial Garden, your family is invited to attend an informal reception (weather permitting) outside of the Chapel.

As this Christian worship service has traditionally been well attended, we would be happy to reserve seating for you and yours. To do so, kindly call (651/456-4410) and leave a voice message indicating your veterans' name and the number of persons attending. For more information about the Foundation or driving directions to the historic chapel at Fort Snelling, visit our website at: www.fortsnellingmcf.org Special rates for nearby hotels will be available. For more information call (651/456-4410) or email (info@fortsnellingmcf.org) the office, and leave your name and contact information.

Also, beginning at dusk (8:30 p.m.) on Saturday 26 May through dawn (6:30 a.m.) on Sunday 27 May, a “Prayer Vigil for Peace” will be held in the sanctuary of the Chapel. You are invited to stop by, light a candle and place it at the foot of your loved one's cross in the Memorial Garden … and then enter the Chapel for prayer.

If you are not able to attend, we pray that you would find comfort in knowing that our prayers are with you and all of the fallen heroes.

Respectfully,
Leila Campbell
Office Manager
Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation
email:info@fortsnellingmcf.org
web site:www.fortsnellingmcf.org
February 24, 2012
February 21, 2012
To the family and friends of Sgt. Jesse M. Lhotka:
Always remembering Jesse. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
May 11, 2011
To the family of Sgt Jesse M Lhotka:
The Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation will be honoring your loved one at the non-denominational Memorial Day Sunday worship service at 11:00 a.m. on 29 May 2011. We will remember the casualties of the Global War on Terrorism from Minnesota … and the neighboring states of Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Outside of the historic Fort Snelling Veterans Memorial Chapel will be a “Memorial Garden” filled with some 200 white crosses bearing the names of the war dead … including your loved one. The Memorial Garden’s perimeter will be manned by members of the Patriot Guard and a honor guard from AMVETS Post #1 of Mendota will be posted at the entrance.

The Memorial Garden will be encircled with larger white crosses representing all of the wars in United States history and give honor to all who have served their country and made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy today. Wreaths will be placed at the foot of each cross bearing the number of U.S. Service Members killed in each of our nation’s wars.

I would like to extend to your family an invitation to honor us with your presence at worship as we pay tribute to the sacrifice made by your service member and family. Our pastor, U.S. Army Chaplain Col. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr., will preach a message entitled, “A Believer’s Look at War.” At the conclusion of the worship hour, all of the congregation will be invited to silently pay their respects at the garden and place poppies at each of the crosses. A Memorial Rifle Squad of Fort Snelling National Cemetery will fire vollies as the US flag is lowered to half-staff and Taps is played. Following your visit to the memorial garden, your family is invited to attend an informal reception (weather permitting) outside of the Chapel.

As this Christian worship service has traditionally been well attended, we would be happy to reserve seating for you and yours. To do so, kindly call (651/456-4410) and leave a voice message indicating your veterans’ name and the number of persons attending. For more information about the Foundation or driving directions to the historic chapel at Fort Snelling, visit our website at: www.fortsnellingmcf.org Special rates for nearby hotels will be available. For more information call (651/456-4410) or email (info@fortsnellingmcf.org) the office and leave your name and contact information.

Also, beginning at dusk (8:30 p.m.) on Sat 28 May through dawn (6:30 a.m.) on Sun 29 May, a “Prayer Vigil for Peace” will be held in the sanctuary of the Chapel. You are invited to stop by, light a candle and place it at the foot of your loved one’s cross in the Memorial Garden … and then enter the Chapel for prayer.

If you are not able to attend, we pray that you would find comfort in knowing that our prayers are with you and all of the fallen heroes.

Respectfully,
Leila Campbell
Office Manager
Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation
email:info@fortsnellingmcf.org
web site:www.fortsnellingmcf.org
February 21, 2011
To the family and friends of Sgt. Jesse M. Lhotka:
Please accept my remembrance of Jesse on the anniversary of his passing and know that he will never be forgotten.
Peggy Childers
www.IraqWarHeroes.org
Peggy Childers
April 28, 2010
To the family of Sgt. Jesse M. Lhotka:
The Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation will be honoring your loved one at the non-denominational Memorial Day Sunday worship service at 11:00 a.m. on 30 May 2010. We will remember the casualties of the Global War on Terrorism from Minnesota … and the neighboring states of Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Outside of the historic Fort Snelling Veterans Memorial Chapel will be a “Memorial Garden” filled with white crosses bearing the names of the war dead … including your loved one.

The Memorial Garden will be encircled with larger white crosses to represent all of the wars in United States history and give honor to all who have served their country and made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy today.

I would like to extend to your family an invitation to honor us with your presence at worship as we pay tribute to the sacrifice made by your service member and family. Our pastor, U.S. Army Chaplain Col. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr., will preach a message entitled “A Day of Remembrance.” At the conclusion of the worship hour, all of the congregation will be invited to silently pay their respects at the garden and place poppies at each of the crosses. An honor guard squad will be on hand to fire vollies as the US flag is lowered to half-staff and Taps is played. Following your visit to the memorial garden, your family is invited to attend an informal reception; weather permitting will be outside of the Chapel.

As this Christian worship service has traditionally been well attended, we would be happy to reserve seating for you and yours. To do so, kindly call (612/970-7866) and leave a voice message indicating your veterans’ name and the number of persons attending. For more information about the Foundation or driving directions to the historic chapel at Fort Snelling, visit our website at: www.fortsnellingmcf.org Special rates for nearby hotels will be available. For more information call (612/970-7866) or email (info@fortsnellingmcf.org) the office and leave your name and contact information.

Also, beginning at dusk (8:30 p.m.) on Sat 29 May through dawn (6:30 a.m.) on Sun 30 May, a “Prayer Vigil for Peace” will be held in the sanctuary of the Chapel. You are invited to stop by, light a candle and place it at the foot of your loved one’s cross in the Memorial Garden … and then enter the Chapel for prayer.

If you are not able to attend, we pray that you would find comfort in knowing that our prayers are with you and all of the fallen heroes.

Respectfully,
Leila Campbell
Office Manager
Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation
email:info@fortsnellingmcf.org
web site:www.fortsnellingmcf.org
April 11, 2010
On April 3, 2010, I stood in Appleton patiently waiting the return of our soldiers coming home from Iraq. For many of them it was their 2nd tour. Many of these men and women were in Iraq with Jesse. As my daughter and I were very eager to welcome home a very good friend of ours, we were also very sad because we were thinking of Jesse. About 10 minutes before the troops pulled into Appleton, a bald eagle circled above us. It stayed there until all of the troops were off the buses. Many others saw it too. I instantly felt an overwhelming feeling and thought of Jesse. Knowing he was there watching over his fellow soldiers was very comforting. Jesse, you are deeply missed by your friends and you will never be forgotten!
Jenny Schaefer
February 21, 2010
To the family and friends of Sgt. Jesse M. Lhotka:
Remembering Jesse on the anniversary of his passing. May our fallen heroes never be forgotten!
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
www.IraqWarHeroes.org
Peggy Childers
July 8, 2009
”Honor and Remember” - “Project Compassion” We love our Soldiers! We love our country and we cannot express enough love and compassion to the families of our fallen heroes. War does not discriminate – It breaks our hearts to see the faces of the fallen. We want to give this gift to you. We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization! Over 1,600 portraits have been completed and shipped to the parents and or spouse - at no cost as this is a gift from one American to another!
Contact us directly at Projectcompassion@manti.com or go to www.heropaintings.com . If you have already had a portrait completed, we pray that you are enjoying the portrait and God Bless You.
Sincerely and Respectfully,
Kenna
Kenna Larra
April 22, 2009
To the family of Sgt. Jesse M. Lhotka:

The Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation will be honoring your loved one at the non-denominational Memorial Day Sunday worship service at 11:00 a.m. on 24 May 2009. We will remember the casualties of the Global War on Terrorism from Minnesota … and the neighboring states of Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Outside of the historic Fort Snelling Veterans Memorial Chapel will be a “Memorial Garden” filled with white crosses bearing the names of the war dead … including your loved one.

I would like to extend to your family an invitation to honor us with your presence at worship as we pay tribute to the sacrifice made by your service member and family. Our pastor, U.S. Army Chaplain Col. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr., will preach a message entitled “Answering the Highest Call.” At the conclusion of the worship hour, all of the congregation will be invited to silently pay their respects at the garden and place poppies at each of the crosses. An honor guard squad will be on hand to fire vollies as the US flag is lowered to half-staff and Taps is played. Following your visit to the memorial garden, your family is invited to attend an informal reception in the Chapel’s Fellowship Hall.

As this Christian worship service has traditionally been well attended, we would be happy to reserve seating for you and yours. To do so, kindly call (612/970-7866) and leave a voice message indicating your veterans’ name and the number of persons attending. For more information about the Foundation or driving directions to the historic chapel at Fort Snelling, visit our website at: www.fortsnellingmcf.org Special rates for nearby hotels will be available. For more information call (612/970-7866) or email (info@fortsnellingmcf.org) the office and leave your name and contact information.

Also, beginning at dusk (8:30 p.m.) on Sat 23 May through dawn (6:30 a.m.) on Sun 24 May, a “Prayer Vigil for Peace” will be held in the sanctuary of the Chapel. You are invited to stop by, light a candle and place it at the foot of your loved one’s cross in the Memorial Garden … and then enter the Chapel for prayer.

If you are not able to attend, we pray that you would find comfort in knowing that our prayers are with you and all of the fallen heroes.

Respectfully,
Leila Campbell
Office Manager
Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation
email:info@fortsnellingmcf.org
web site:www.fortsnellingmcf.org
Leila Campbell
February 21, 2009
To the family of Sgt. Jesse M. Lhotka:
Jesse gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
www.IraqWarHeroes.org
Peggy Childers
August 22, 2008
I still have a million vivid memories of Jesse running through my head all the time. He was so unique and funny and he was one of my best friends. Everyone who knew him, loved him and I know he will always be missed. Beverly raised an amazing son. Thank you, Jesse.
Lisa B.
April 28, 2008
You are remembered and respected. Thank you Sgt Lhotka!
April 28, 2008
To the family of Sgt. Jesse M. Lhotka:
The Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation will be honoring your loved one at the non-denominational Memorial Day Sunday worship service at 11:00 a.m. on 25 May, 2008. We will remember the casualties of the Global War on Terrorism from Minnesota … and the neighboring states of Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Outside of the historic Fort Snelling Veterans Memorial Chapel will be a “Memorial Garden” filled with white crosses bearing the names of the war dead … including your loved one.

I would like to extend to your family an invitation to honor us with your presence at worship as we pay tribute to the sacrifice made by your service member and family. Our pastor, U.S. Army Chaplain, LTC Kenneth L. Beale, Jr. will preach a message entitled “The Price of Freedom” At the conclusion of the worship hour, all of the congregation will be invited to silently pay their respects at the garden and place poppies at each of the crosses. An honor guard squad will be on hand to fire vollies as the US flag is lowered to half-staff and Taps is played.

As this Christian worship service has traditionally been well attended, we would be happy to reserve seating for you and yours. To do so, kindly call (612/970-7866) and leave a voice message indicating your veterans’ name and the number of persons attending. For more information about the Foundation or driving directions to the historic chapel at Fort Snelling, visit our website at: www.fortsnellingmcf.org

Also, beginning at dusk (8:30 p.m.) on Sat. 24 May through dawn (6:30 a.m.) on Sun. 25 May, a “PrayerVigil for Peace” will be held. You are invited to stop by and light a candle and place it at the foot of your loved one’s cross in the Memorial Garden, then enter the Chapel for prayer.

If you are not able to attend, we pray that you would find comfort in knowing that our prayers are with you and all of the fallen heroes.

Respectfully,
Leila Campbell
Administrative Assistant
Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation
email:info@fortsnellingmcf.org
web site:www.fortsnellingmcf.org
Leila Campbell
August 14, 2007
There is nothing that I can say or do to take away the pain or bring you peace in your time of sorrow, but I will offer you and your family my heart felt condolences. I also offer you my prayers that in time the pain will easy and the memories of your HERO will carry you through each day and night. I want to thank your HERO, for his/her selfless act of becoming a member of the armed forces, his/her willingness to defend the United States of America, all that we hold sacred and for the sacrifice that will forever be etched in the memories of all those who knew him/her. Though tears can never bring him/her back, we hope that our tears express our gratitude for the sacrifice that he/she made and our sorrow at his/her passing. I believe for every fallen HERO there is a star shining brightly up above to remind us of the precious gift we were given.

Your mission on earth is complete and you are now a member of GOD’s Heavenly armed forces. Stand down brave warrior and take your rightful place in Heaven with all the HEROES who have passed before.

I made a special promise to LE RON A. WILSON, a dear family friend who joined the Army with three other friends, one of whom is my son (Le Ron was killed in action on 07/06/07 at the age of 18) on the day he was laid to rest as I touched his coffin, that I would never forget him nor would I forget those that gave their lives for our country before him, with him and after him and so when I came across www.legacy.com, I thought what a great way to keep my promise to Le Ron, so I will continue to leave tributes in each guest book until the day there is no longer the need to leave these tributes to a FALLEN HERO.

REST IN PEACE, HERO, YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN!!

PROUD MOTHER OF A U.S. SOLDIER
Currently stationed in Germany
Althea Barrett(Queens, NY)
July 20, 2007
not sure exactly what to say here, what do you say??? our sympathy
Maggie and Justin Grothe
July 15, 2007
Thank you for the sacrifice made by Sgt Lhotka and the sacrifice made by everyone who loves and misses him! May God bless all of you!!
May 3, 2007
I miss you every day.
Crystal Kleven
April 12, 2007
We are sorry this is so late in coming, we just located this fantastic website, God Bless them for doing this.
We can't imagine what you have been going through since being notified of the death of your Jesse. Families all over the USA are grieving with you and praying for you. Jesse was a very brave Warrior. You should be very proud of his service. Your Freedom Fighter has completed the mission and has been redeployed to Heaven to sit on the right hand of the Supreme Commander and Chief. The Father above has Jesse in his arms and will give him peace as well as eventually easing your pain and suffering. God speed to you and SGT Jesse M. Lhotka, our HERO. We are so proud of them that are willing to sacrifice for this great Nation, THANK YOU.

Army Retired
Cory and Mary Orvik
April 3, 2007
To the family of Sgt. Jesse M. Lhotka:
The Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation will be honoring your loved one at the non-denominational Memorial Day Sunday worship service at 11:00 a.m. on 27 May, 2007. We will remember the casualties of the Global War on Terrorism from Minnesota … and the neighboring states of Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Outside of the historic Fort Snelling Veterans Memorial Chapel will be a “Memorial Garden” filled with white crosses bearing the names of the war dead … including your loved one.

I would like to extend to your family an invitation to honor us with your presence at worship as we pay tribute to the sacrifice made by your service member and family. Our pastor, U.S. Army Chaplain, LTC Kenneth L. Beale, Jr. will preach a message entitled “Remembering” At the conclusion of the worship hour, all of the congregation will be invited to silently pay their respects at the garden and place poppies at each of the crosses. An honor guard squad will be on hand to fire vollies as the US flag is lowered to half-staff and Taps is played.

As this Christian worship service has traditionally been well attended, we would be happy to reserve seating for you and yours. To do so, kindly call (612/970-7866) and leave a voice message indicating your veterans’ name and the number of persons attending. For more information about the Foundation or driving directions to the historic chapel at Fort Snelling, visit our website at: www.fortsnellingmcf.org
If you are not able to attend, we pray that you would find comfort in knowing that our prayers are with you and all of the fallen heroes.

Respectfully,
Leila Campbell
Administrative Assistant
Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation
email:info@fortsnellingmcf.org
web site:www.fortsnellingmcf.org
Leila Campbell
February 21, 2007
In Remembrance of Sgt. Jesse M. Lhotka, on the 2nd anniversary of the day, he gave his life for our Country, with a Multitude of Thanks, for this Brave Young Soldier's Courage, Dedication and Service to our Country and for Freedom.

Rest Safely Jesse, in God's Loving Care and may the Peace of God continue to be with the Lhotka family.
Those who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice, So Many and So Young, shall Never Be Forgotten, my brother among them. KIA-Vietnam 1967.

"I will lift up my eyes to the hills-
from whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth."
~ Psalm 121:1-2 ~

I am sincerely hoping that you continue to feel the thoughts of caring and support that surround you each day, as this Country Remembers Someone Very Precious to you, who is a Hero to all of us.
I am So Deeply Sorry for your loss.
Garnet Jenkins
January 14, 2007
So if you meet somebody who is sad and feeling low,
just lend a hand to pick him up, as on your way you go.
When you're walking down the street, and you've got me on your mind;
I'm walking in your footsteps only half a step behind.

And when it's time for you to go.... from that body to be free,
remember you're not going.....you're coming here to me. Thanks for being a close friend. Soon I'll meet you and Ryan.
Elijah Veland
October 9, 2006
i wish i met you
bryan rush
August 18, 2006
MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND YOURS. I HAVE JUST LEARNED OF YOUR GREAT LOSS AND WISH TO EXPRESS MY DEEPEST SYMPATHIES. PLEASE KNOW THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT HERE WHO DO CARE AND YOUR HERO WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN. HOLD TIGHT TO YOUR TREASURED MEMORIES THAT HIS SPECIAL SMILE MAY CONTINUE TO SHINE ON. I PRAY THAT PEACE WILL FIND YOU ALL SOMEDAY. STAY STRONG AND GODSPEED. SEMPER FI

A PROUD MARINE MOM
ROBYN GARSIDE
July 4, 2006
Here's to Jesse - he will always be remembered. My thoughts are with you all on this Fourth of July when we honor the heroes of America.
Jimmy Mason
April 25, 2006
To the family of Sgt. Jesse M. Lhotka:
The Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation will be honoring your loved one at the non-denominational Memorial Day Sunday worship service at 11:00 a.m. on 28 May, 2006. We will remember the casualties of the Global War on Terrorism from Minnesota … and the neighboring states of Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Outside of the historic Fort Snelling Veterans Memorial Chapel will be a “Memorial Garden” filled with white crosses bearing the names of the war dead … including your loved one.

I would like to extend to your family an invitation to honor us with your presence at worship as we pay tribute to the sacrifice made by your service member and family. Our pastor, U.S. Army Chaplain, LTC Kenneth L. Beale, Jr. will preach a message entitled “What Are We to Remember?” At the conclusion of the worship hour, all of the congregation will be invited to silently pay their respects at the garden and place poppies at each of the crosses. An honor guard squad will be on hand to fire vollies as the US flag is lowered to half-staff and Taps is played.

As this Christian worship service has traditionally been well attended, we would be happy to reserve seating for you and yours. To do so, kindly call (612/970-7866) and leave a voice message indicating your veterans’ name and the number of persons attending. If you are not able to attend, we pray that you would find comfort in knowing that our prayers are with you and all of the fallen heroes.

Respectfully,
Leila Campbell
Administrative Assistant
Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation
email:info@fortsnellingmcf.org
web site:www.fortsnellingmcf.org
Leila Campbell
March 29, 2006
I still think about this funny guy I knew in HS. A little over a year later, I keep the yellow ribbon from the funeral to remind myself how lucky we all are to have known Jesse. What a guy!
Wes Drake
February 21, 2006
We miss you!!!
Kathy (schmit)Etten
February 21, 2006
My heartfelt sympathy to the Lhotka family in the loss of Jesse. I did not know Jesse, but my heart is broken and I am saddened for your loss of such a fine young person and hero. May God bring you peace in your heart as you reflect on all the wonderful memories you hold so close. Jesse one year ago today you were taken. You are a hero and will never be forgotten. Please know that you are in my heart and prayers.
I send each of you a hug from the most inner part of my heart.
Love and Peace
Tom

To live in the hearts
of those you leave behind
is never to die"
~Robert Orr~
Tom Gugliuzza-Smith
February 18, 2006
MY THOUGHTS & PRAYER GO OUT TO JESSE'S FAMILEY & FRIENDS. AS A AUNT WHO HAD A NEPHEW WHO MADE IT HOME FROM IRAQ, WE SHOULD NEVER FORGET THOSE WHO GAVE THERE LIVES FOR US! GOD BLESS HES SOLE.
RUTH HUPPERT
February 7, 2006
Psalm 23

1
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
3
He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

This is a verse that I have found to be comforting to me during my husbands death. Remember that when it seems that no one else is round, God is still there with you! And he will be your rock!

My daughter,McKaLyne, and I send our heartfelt sympathy for your loss! God Bless this warrior, God Bless those whom serve freedom's cause! They are our true HERO's!!!!

If you need anything, please feel free to contact me!!!

Wife & Daughter of the Late
Sgt. Audrey Daron Lunsford
KIA May 23, 2005
Vangi & McKaLyne Lunsford
January 30, 2006
I want to give my condolences to the Lhotka family..I didn't know Jesse but however I have the great opportunity to be friends with his sister Sonja and as Jesse I was told was one of a kind..Sonja as well is one of a kind. She loves her brother so much and I want to say he was a hero to her,the family, as well as the citizens of this country..and may his wonderful memories live on through everyone. Love Denise Wagner
Denise Wagner
January 20, 2006
Thank you for all you have done for our country!
January 18, 2006
I knew Jesse and his family when they lived in Brooten. I want to send my sincere condolences for such a fine soldier. His memory will live on in all who knew him. From sailor to soldier, I say,"God Bless your soul".
Travis Meyer
December 21, 2005
Thank you for serving this great country of ours. Thank you for what you have given us all.

I will not forget and it's my mission to remind all of who you are and what you have done for us.

Iraq War Heroes

Don't Let the Memory Of Them Drift Away

www.IraqWarHeroes.org
Q Madp
December 9, 2005
I am a Spc. in the MN Army National Guard. I believe I assisted with processing this soldiers unit at Camp Ripley, MN. I am with 3/194th CAB, formerly 1/194th AR and in the Army for 20 years. I just stumbled on this web site and felt that I would express my sympathy to family and friends. I don't remember meeting this soldier, but I can recall them all being very solid soldiers.
Sheldon Goos
November 18, 2005
Jesse, I didn’t know you but I wish I did. There is no way to thank you or your family for the sacrifice that you made for all of us here at home. You are a hero. Your family has to be so sad and proud of you all at the same time. You and your loved ones will be in my prayers. Jesse someday we will meet and then I can thank you in person for your service and sacrifice.

Kevin.
Kevin La Van
November 11, 2005
My sympathy goes out to the Lhotka family.
Kelly Campbell
September 16, 2005
I was just searching my brothers name and came across this guest book, it is amazing to me that people have signed it as late as August, as it is September now. I just want anyone who chances to read this entry that our family appreciates your support. Every day is a challenge to face the sad reality of J's death. I like to read and reread the kind words, memories, and thoughfulness of so many people. Jesse really was one of a kind.
Vanessa Lhotka
August 27, 2005
Wanda Cobb & Family
July 20, 2005
Dear Mrs Lhotka and Family,

I recently read about the loss of your loved one in Iraq. May I offer my belated condolences to you and your family upon the passing of your American hero husband, Jesse, in Iraq in February.

Please know that other Americans share in your loss and are concerned. It is my prayer that God may continue to grant you and yours an extra measure of peace, comfort, and strength during this difficult time.

May Jesse’s legacy of bravery and devotion to our country and its safety be a source of pride to your family, an inspiration to his peers, and forever remembered by a grateful nation.

Truly he was “Siemper Fi”!

With deepest sympathy,
Sincerely,
Major Arnold Huskins, USAF
June 1, 2005
My heart goes out to Jesse's wife and family. I'm sorry not to be able to work with you side by side anymore. I know you are watching down over us who are still stationed in Iraq. Goodbye my friend. You will never be forgotten.
Allen Paulson
April 25, 2005
may god bless you and your family
william weigman
April 20, 2005
May God bless your family and bring them comfort. Thank you brave soldier for your selfless sacrifice to secure the freedom of others. May you now rest in the loving arms of Jesus.
Susan Johnson
April 15, 2005
We will never forget the sacrifice that Jesse and the Lhotka family has made for our country. You will always be in our thoughts and prayers.
Chuck & Paula Wilson
March 21, 2005
Dear Quinton & family,
i'm sorry to hear about what happened to jesse, this is a very devastating experience. my prayers are with you all.
samantha stennes
March 19, 2005
Bev..I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved son in Iraq. I have lived in Utah since 1978, but keep in touch with folks and family still living there in the Appleton area. I cried for you and him when learning of the news of local men killed in Iraq. I wish you peace. May God bless our soldiers and you and your family. Rita (Hess) Wilson So. Ogden, Utah.
Rita Hess Wilson
March 17, 2005
My heart and prayers go out to Jesse's family, especially Stacey. You are always in my thoughts and prayers. Jesse was a hero to everyone and he will be missed. Thank you, Jesse, for doing your thing.
Bobbi Jo Roscoe-Bryan
March 17, 2005
It is still all unreal to me and I'm sure the same goes to the family. There will be such a void the day our soldiers return home and your beaming smile is not there. You were a great guy Jesse that touched lives everyday, simply by being you. We will always cherish those things about you. You were a great friend and an outstanding soldier to so many. It is men like you that make C-Co. look so good. Until we meet again Jesse, thank you!!
Soldiers wife and friend
Molly Turner
March 8, 2005
It is difficult for any family of a fallen soldier to understand and cope with the loss. There is always doubt as to whether the mission was worth the sacrifice. Having been in the Infantry, I know that when soldiers are in battle, the lofty goals and ideals disappear and it is only you and your buddy...and every soldier knows that his buddy will never let him down. This trooper did his best and that is all that can be asked. No matter the outcome of this war, his fellow soldiers will never forget him and his legacy will live on.
LTC (RET) Wayne Sabo
March 5, 2005
Dear Molly & Family,
I am so very sorry to hear about your brother. Even though I only met him a few times through Molly(my sorority sister), he was such a great guy. Many thanks to Jesse and all the men and women just like him fighting for those of us back home. May God bless him and your family during this most trying time. Molly even though it has been awhile since we were last in touch please get in touch with me if you need anything! Your family is in my thoughts and prayers,
Take care and God bless,
Crystal (aka Mini C)
Crystal Pomeroy
March 4, 2005
I was shocked to hear that someone I know so well was killed in the war in Iraq. I was best friends with Jesse until he moved out of my hometown in 9th grade. I just wish that I would have taken the time to stay in touch since then. Thanks you for sacrificing for us all Jesse, we are all a little safer because of you.
Al Lundquist
March 3, 2005
Jesse was a very special individual that had a unique talent for living life to the fullest. I cherish the many good times we had. My heart goes out to his wife and family. He will never be forgotten.
Julie Ehrenberg
March 3, 2005
To the Lhotka Family. I just wanted to express my deepest sympathies for your loss. Please know that I have prayed for your comfort and that God will let his presence be known and bring you strength. My mother's maiden name was Lhotka. Don't know if we are related. She was from Winsted, MN and her Dad was Fred Lhotka. She was related to the Silver Lake and Watertown Lhotka's. God Bless your whole family.........Nancy
Nancy Fuller
March 2, 2005
Our condolences on the loss of Jesse. We will remember his halarious ways, his good heart, and heroism. May God Bless his family and friends. And that hope and peace will be with those in the Armed forces.
Tina and Rob (fellow HS classmates) Claflin
March 2, 2005
To the Family of Jesse,
My prays are with you and your family on the lose Jesse. I pray for all the soliders each and every day. I have had a brother that served in Iraq and other placee over there in the past and worried about him and all the soliders over there. My prays are with you now and forever. God Bless you all. Mary
Mary Molitor
March 2, 2005
To the family of Jesse Lhotka:

While we don't know your family, we just want you to know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. Thanks to Jesse and all the other men and women serving to protect our freedom. May God bless you all at this difficult time.
Carol and Shane Matt
March 1, 2005
Your entire family is in our prayers and may you feel God's strength and presence as you deal with the loss of your loved one. Rest assured he is a true HERO in our eyes and we are so thankful for the ultimate sacrifice he made in our behalf for the freedom of us and the peoples of the world. You have reason to be very proud.
JoAnn Nielsen
March 1, 2005
I'm signing this guestbook to say goodbye to a fellow soldier and above all a friend. I miss you allready. You will live on in our memories forever. Goodbye.
Jared Voorhees
March 1, 2005
With deepest sympathy, VFW Post 9640 and DAV #31 chapter,Tazewell Co.
Frances Evans
February 28, 2005
Jesse, I am proud to have just found out that we are distant cousins. I guess my grandma Connie and your grandma Mildred were first cousins. I wish I had been able to get to know you in person. You sounded like a wonderful young man. My heart goes out to your family and wife. You paid the ultimate price for our freedom and safety. Thank you so much for choosing to serve this wonderful country. If there is anything that your family in the twin cities can do to help. Please feel free to contact me at the email address I have provided. Our prayers are with all of you. God Bless you and help to easy your pain. Love, your cousin Lori (Olmstead) Lowen
Lori Lowen
February 28, 2005
Jesse,
You and your family made the ultimate sacrifice for us all. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, may God bless you and your family. Thank you.
Justin Voog
February 28, 2005
For someone who is unforgettable, a true Hero! Constantly in our heads and hearts. Your sacrafice to the freedom of Iraq has impacted everyone. Your sacrifice will not be forgotten!!
Jana Lehne
February 27, 2005
Rest In Peace my fellow brother-in-arms. My deepest sympathy goes out to Jesse's family.
Barry Fernholz
February 27, 2005
May all my prayers go out to Jesse and his family. Jesse was a friend that always looked at the bright side of life. I knew him through high school and at SCSU. He always brought a smile to my face when I saw him. "Only when the winds of adversity blow can you tell whether an individual or a country has steadfastness." JFK
Thank you Jesse!!!!
Steve N
February 26, 2005
My thoughts and prayers are with all of the Lhotka family. Jesse was a great guy with a zest for life whose smile was contagious. I thank him for the greatest sacrifice one could give his country and for many memories from the class of '99.
Heather Roiger
February 25, 2005
Our hearts and prayers go out to Jesse's wife, family, and friends. Jesse was a great guy with a vibrant personality. He was always upbeat and smiling. His love for life was contagious. We are so sorry for your loss and will keep you in our prayers.
Matthew and Amanda Thompson
February 25, 2005
there is no words to describe you or to your family the ultimate sacrifice that you did for my family, we are greatful and thank the lord above for people and family like yours to give so much!!! God bless you an your family, our payers and thoughts are with you.
Jose Escamilla
February 25, 2005
We met Stacey and Jesse last May in Montego Bay, Jamaica and had a wonderful time with them. Jesse was a wonderful person with a great sense of humor. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Stacey as well as with Jesse's loved ones. We think of our time in Jamaica often, and now it will really have a special meaning. We feel very fortunate to have shared a brief moment of his life. God bless you.
Tina and Tom Capece
February 25, 2005
Molly, I am incredibly sorry for your loss. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.
Kelly Lyons
February 24, 2005
No words I can think of seem appropriate to express to the Lhotka family during this terrible loss. May God comfort you all and hold you in the palm of his hand. Jesse has surely made the LqPV class of '99 proud. You're our hero, Jesse!
Miriam Mueller
February 24, 2005
Jesse, we miss you already. A great person, friend and husband to Stacey. We will remember all of the good times spent together and will think of you often. Godspeed Soldier!
Patrick & Holly Running
February 24, 2005
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke).

Our country has a history of extraordinary men like Jesse stepping up to make the world a better, safer place. God bless him and his family. We all grieve with you. I have no doubt he marched to a better place with his fellow soldiers, and has become part of an elite group who gave it all for the good of others.
Ted I
February 24, 2005
Molly and family, I'm so very sorry to hear about Jesse. You are in my thoughts. I'm sorry that it's been so long since we've been in touch. *Sending big hugs your way* Email me, ok? I want to come visit, and be with you in this hard time. Love ya Molly!
Mica R
February 24, 2005
My heart goes out to Jesse Lhotka's wife and family. I was fortunate to know Jesse's family when he was only 10 years old. It is a tragedy for us all that he has passed on but a celebration in heaven that he is there. I pray that you will find comfort in the memories and the knowledge that Jesse is home now in the arms of the lord.
June Fleck
February 24, 2005
To the family of Jesse M. Lhotka,
I am deeply saddened by your loss, but am overwhelmed with pride for His service to our country. I too, have family fighting in Iraq and aware of the uncertainty of them returning safely. But know this, our men and women are doing great things over there as did Jesse. My family and I have you in our prayers. Godspeed our true and faithful soldier.
Samantha G.
February 24, 2005
My heart goes out to your family. My Son is is also serving, and I live in fear of this same news. Thank Jesse for the sacrifice he made for his country. God bless your family.
February 24, 2005
I knew Jesse from SCSU. He was a great person. Someone who came to class every day smiling. A kind person who would go out of his way to say hello whenever you saw him. He will be missed. His service to our country will not be forgotten. May God bless Jesse and his family.
Justin Nelson
February 24, 2005
My whole family offers its heartfelt thanks to Jesse, his wife, and the rest of his family. We are so sorry for your loss.
May God comfort you, strengthen you, and give you peace and everlasting life.
Karen
February 23, 2005
Our thoughts and prayers are with your family and our small community of Appleton. He will forever be missed and forever in our hearts.

Carolyn and Katie Blain
Katie Blain
February 23, 2005
We are praying for you and your family. You will be missed by all who knew you. Thank you for your service and sacrifice.
Stephanie V.
February 23, 2005
God Speed, our hero. You and your sacrifice will never be forgotten. God bless your family. Thank you for my freedom..
Andrea
February 23, 2005
My heart goes out to the entire Lhotka family. May you find peace and comfort knowing that God chose the best that day with the three wonderful young men He called home to His side. Thank you, Jesse, for your service to our country.
Sharon
February 23, 2005
My sincere gratitude to you for making the ultimate sacrifice for the people of this country. May God bless you and wrap his arms around those you left behind.
February 23, 2005
I'm so very sorry about the loss of your son. We cannot express our gratitude enough that he was willing to serve his country. I also have a son in Iraq. My prayers and thoughts are with you.
Sandi Westberg
February 23, 2005
I didn't know you, but I have to give you my thanks for your courage and for all you've given up to keep the people of this country free. My prayers are with you and your family. They should be very proud of you, and your dedication to the very end. You've given so much to so many, and it's only right that we acknowledge you today and always. God Bless.
Stephanie G.
February 23, 2005
May God's Light and Love shine on you and your family. THANK YOU for serving our county and giving us the freedom to live in America.
Annette
annette gilbertson
February 23, 2005
My heartfelt sympathy to the entire family of Jesse.

Thank you Jesse for keeping us all safe and for your sacrifice to make sure our freedom and the freedom of Iraqi people is possible for generations to come.
Vicky
February 23, 2005
We want you to know that we are so very proud of Jesse and his dedication to America. We will be praying for your and your family during this time of such tragedy.
Len & Pat Nalty
Spooner, Wisconsin
Len & Pat nalty
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