Hundreds attended a funeral service for Steven Blass, an Estherville native, Tuesday. Sgt. Blass and five crew members were killed when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed March 11 in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Steven Blass began his career with the United States Army on March 13, 2006. He served in Korea and had been deployed with company B, 4th Battalion, 3rd Aviation to Kandahar, Afghanistan on Dec. 14, 2012. He returned to the United States soil as a fallen hero on March 13, 2013, exactly seven years from the day he left for basic training.
In his career, Sgt. Blass received numerous military honors. Brigadier Gen. Peter A. DeLuca presented a posthumous promotion to Blass to staff sergeant. He also presented posthumous medals for service in the Global War on Terror, the Afghanistan Service Medal and Bronze Star.
Steven Blass was married to Tricia Anne Stayer in Tennessee. They are parents of a 16-month-old son, Hayden.
Survivors include his parents, Randy and Carol (Erickson)?Blass of Estherville; and a brother, Matthew Blass.
At the service on Tuesday, Chaplain Maj. Mike Crawford said, "Your presence here today is a very visible and powerful tribute to a fallen service member. This is the area that brought the Army into his life."
Tributes to the fallen hero included thousands of flags lining the streets of Estherville and a 30-by-50 foot United States flag suspended from a 100-foot aerial ladder truck from the Spirit Lake Fire Department.
Honor guards were posted in communities between Estherville and Spencer where the young soldier was laid to rest.