If pride is a salve that can ease a person's grief, the Blass family of Estherville Monday found themselves well on the way toward healing.
Starting at 4 p.m., the Estherville Lincoln Central High School parking lot was filled with cars - people coming to pay their respects to Staff Sgt. Steven Blass who died two weeks ago with four fellow crew members in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. A steady line of people offering condolences continued, even past 8 p.m. when a medals ceremony was scheduled.
Steve's parents Randy and Carol Blass, daughter-in-law Tricia and her and Steve's son Hayden, and Randy's brother Matt sat front and center as they were first presented a Gold Star Service Banner - given to those families who have lost a loved one in the military.
Brigadier Gen. Peter. A. DeLuca presented to Randy Blass a Bronze Star awarded to his son Steve.
EDN photo by Michael Tidemann
They were followed by condolences from Iowa State Veterans of Foreign Wars Commander Larry Winther of Spencer and Estherville Post 3388 VFW Commander Bob Fine.
Brigadier Gen. Peter A. DeLuca presented a posthumous promotion for Blass to staff sergeant. Gen. DeLuca also presented posthumous medals for service in the Global War on Terror, the Afghanistan Service Medal and the Bronze Star.
Services for Blass will be held 2 p.m. today.