No one would have known Staff Sgt. Chris Federmann was an American hero just by meeting him.
The man his wife described as a big, soft-spoken guy with a huge heart never talked about his "heroic" actions in the Army, nor the Silver Star and Purple Heart he earned in Iraq. The family man enjoyed his wife and kids, and often would be outside doing yard work, she said.
Federmann, of Glen Carbon, Illinois, unexpectedly died Sept. 11. He was 43.
"He is the hardest-working, most driven and focused person I ever met," said his wife, Abby Federmann. "Anytime he wanted to accomplish something, he did."
On June 3, 2007, Federmann, a U.S. Special Forces soldier, and Sgt. 1st Class Chad Kite, of Virginia, were credited with neutralizing multiple enemy threats. They were part of a mission to capture a suspected terrorist with U.S. and Iraqi soldiers in Ad Diwaniyah, Iraq, according to the Army citation. Federmann was injured in the withdrawal from the target area. He and Kite were awarded the Silver Star, the third-highest individual honor, in July 2008. Federmann also earned a Purple Heart.
Even though Federmann never talked about his accomplishments, his wife said she's "going to let everyone know what a hero he was, and how outstanding he was."
"He was so patriotic. He loved this country," said Abby Federmann. "He was such a patriot."
Federmann was born on Dec. 25, 1975, and attended Eastern Kentucky University for two years before leaving school to work for his father in Atlanta. He joined the Army because of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, Abby Federmann said.
Before leaving for basic training, Federmann went home to visit family and friends. It was then he met his wife, who was working as a waitress at Rick's Tavern in Fairfield.
They were married on April 22, 2003, in Cincinnati.
"We balanced each other out pretty good," said Abby Federmann. "He set a good example for my kids on how to achieve what it is that you want."
Federmann graduated from Fairfield High School in 1994, and was a standout linebacker on the football team. During his senior season in 1993, he was the Journal-News All-Butler County Defensive Player of the Year. He racked up 101 tackles for the 8-2 squad that narrowly missed the Division I playoffs.
"He was just a phenomenal dad," Abby Federmann said. "Through all the deployments, and all the time he was gone, all the things he did was for the kids and for me. He was just a very selfless person. Just by his awards in the military you can see that, and he would have sacrificed for the people around him."
Federmann retired from the Army in 2010, and after brief stint as a government contractor, he worked for Lou Fusz Ford and became general manager.
In addition to his wife, Federmann is survived by his children, Payton and Dominic; parents, Edward and Elaine Federmann, of St. Louis, Missouri; and brother, Edward Federmann, of Cincinnati.
The family will have a celebration of life at the Lou Fusz Athletic complex in St. Louis, Missouri, on Sept. 26. Federmann will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery with full military with full military rites. A date for the service has not yet been released.
This article was written by Michael D. Pitman from Journal-News, Hamilton, Ohio and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.