Local Military Hero Escorted Home from Afghanistan
Sergeant First Class John Michael Hennen Receives Full Military Honors
Sergeant First Class John Hennen was killed Sunday, June 17, 2007 while serving with the US Army in Afghanistan. He was 26 years old and graduated from Vinton High School in the Class of 1999. His funeral was held here June 25th. The service was very moving and was a tribute to him and his family. The processional from the church to grave side lasted over 25 minutes and the streets were lined with flag wavers all the way to Niblett Bluff Cemetery. Although rain was coming down gently, you would not have known it by the large citizen turn out.
On a special mission with 12 other soldiers, all hand picked natives of Louisiana, an improvised explosive device detonated near them. “This was John’s second tour of duty”, said his Mother, Susan Moreno of Vinton. “He served his first tour in Iraq, came home, then returned to Afghanistan”. While in High School John was the first group of students allowed to attend Boot Camp between his Junior and High School year.
Hennen is survived by his parents Susan and Paul Moreno, his sisters Suzannne Gragg, Jeannah Stelly, Ashley Moreno and Kathy Bleichroth, as well as his four year old son John Michael Hennen II. “He called his son ‘Little Man’ said Susan; I call him ‘T-John”.
John believed in what he was doing and wanted his son, and his family to grow up in a world of freedom. “Unfortunately freedom has a price; he gave his life for it. We love John, we’re very proud of him and what he has accomplished and we will miss him so much. He’s my hero.”
Hennen’s body arrived at the Lake Charles Airport on Sunday, June 24, 2007. An honor guard transported his body from the airport to First Baptist Church of Vinton. Mayor Stinson requested the community line the processional route to show honor to Sgt. Hennen and his family. The route was Exit 8 from I -10, right on to Gum Cove Road and on to Center Street to the church. Funeral Services were held at Vinton First Baptist Church on Monday, June 25. Following the service he was laid to rest in Niblett Bluff Cemetery.
Message from Mayor Kenneth Stinson and Employees of the Town of Vinton
On behalf of the City and Employees we extend our deepest sympathy and prayers to the family of Sergeant John Hennen. He will always be a Hero in our eyes, as is his family; and for their loss, they are our Heroes too. He paid the sacrifice and for his bravery we are granted the freedoms that we share in our town and in our United States. Know that we continue to lift you up in our thoughts and prayers. May God Bless you.
Mayor Kenneth Stinson and the Employees of the Town of Vinton