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DQ fundraiser to benefit charity in memory of fallen soldier, Jarett Yoder

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: May 08 2013 04:12:30 PM CDT
Updated On: May 09 2013 04:23:53 AM CDT

The widow of a soldier, who was killed last month serving his country, is putting her pain aside to help others.

KENHORST, Pa. -

The widow of a Berks Co. soldier, who was killed last month serving his country, is putting her pain aside to help others.

Heather Garay-Yoder spoke with 69 News for the first time since her husband, Chief Warrant Ofc. Jarett Yoder, was killed.

"I never thought... I never thought it could happen," said Heather, as she held back tears in her Brecknock Twp. home.

Heather calls April 9, 2013 the worst day of her life. Jarett was in the middle of his second deployment overseas, this time in Afghanistan.

The newlyweds talked on the phone every night, but Heather said that day Jarett never called.

"I actually texted him. I'm like, 'I hope everything is OK,' and two hours later they came," she recounted. "It's everybody's worst nightmare. If somebody in uniform pulls in your driveway, you know what it is."

Heather never thought it was possible. Her partner would not be coming home. The Pennsylvania National Guardsman was killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.   

The past few weeks have been excruciating for Heather, but she is now determined to keep alive the memory of the man she fell in love with.

"It's the worst feeling. I would never want anyone to feel the way I do, but I somehow have to help other people while I'm in this," Heather said.

She established the Jarett Yoder Memorial Fund and plans to donate money to several charities. Her first fundraiser is planned for this Saturday.

It will be held at the Dairy Queen at 820 Kenhorst Plaza. Owner, Hamid Chaudhry, will give 100 percent of the proceeds to the Jarett Yoder Memorial Fund.  

This time around, Heather will donate the money to, 'Puppies Behind Bars.' Heather graduated with a criminal justice degree, and Jarett had a love of animals. The organization trains inmates to raise service dogs for wounded war veterans.

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"These dogs only go to Iraq and Afghanistan vets, so Jarett served in both of those places; it hits home for us," Heather said.

According to Heather, Jarett would not want her to stop, and this will be the first of many more fundraisers to come.

Heather is asking everyone to stop by Dairy Queen from 7 a.m. - 11 a.m. on Sat., May 11. For $7, you can get breakfast and a round of mini golf. Plus, other carnival games will be happening.