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Richelle Hecker: Serving Country and Family

Army Major William F. Hecker’s long-range plan was to become a college English professor, but first he was committed to following in the footsteps of his family and serving his country. A West Point graduate, he was an officer in the 3-16th Field Artillery Battalion, and in late 2005 he was deployed to Iraq. Just six weeks into his tour of duty there, he was killed by a roadside bomb. Bill was just 37, and left behind his wife, Richelle, and four young children.

Nothing could have prepared Richelle emotionally for her loss, but she knew Bill had taken steps to ensure the family would be okay financially. The Army provides soldiers with a $100,000 death benefit, and Bill had bought additional life insurance offered by the military. But he knew even that wouldn’t be enough to cover his family’s needs. So he purchased additional coverage on his own. His individual policy even included an option to increase his coverage every three years regardless of his health status, a valuable feature for someone with a hazardous occupation. “He did all the right things,” says Samantha Hilliard, Hecker’s insurance professional.

Richelle and her children, now ages 3 to 11, recently resettled in Colorado Springs, Colo. With the insurance benefits safely invested, Richelle’s living expenses should be covered long after her Army survivor benefits have run out. That leaves her free to remain a stayat-home mom as long as she wishes.

Though Bill’s service to his country put him in harm’s way, that wasn’t the only reason the Heckers bought life insurance. “Obviously, he had a dangerous job, but there’s always a chance that any of us won’t make it,” says Richelle. “It’s just the right thing to do.”

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