Father Elmer Heindl To Be Honored By Army
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"He was well-known for all the veterans in Rochester and around the country for his dedication to them,” said Kay Nichols.
Elmer Heindl was born on Flag Day, 1910.
"Anyone who needed him, he would be there."
It was only fitting, though Father Heindl served far more than just his country.
"My uncle was all about service,” said Kay. “Service to God, as a priest, to the Catholic church, and service to the military."
And even after he retired in 1980, the Army chaplain never really retired. He was attending ceremonies and spending much of his time at a reserve station on North Goodman Street.
"He was always very active in the 98th Division."
When Father Elmer Heindl passed away in 2006, he was Rochester's oldest priest. Highly decorated for his service, tributes poured in from around the nation, but recognition was nothing he'd ever sought.
"He never looked for praise or honor or that. All he would say was he was just doing his job,” said Bob Heindl, his brother.
Six years after his death, Father Heindl is being honored once more.
"I'm elated. It's a great honor,” said Bob.
This weekend, as the Army moves the 98th Training Division to a base in Georgia, the military will dedicate the new building in honor of a priest born in Rochester.
"It's his legacy living on, and he certainly deserves it,” Kay said.
Rochester served as the home to the 98th Training Division for 53 years, but is being moved to Fort Benning, Georgia as part of the military's Base Realignment and Closure process.
"This is my favorite picture because that was his smile,” said Kay.
Three Heindl brothers fought in World War two.
"They say we were the greatest generation,” said Bob.
Elmer was the oldest; Bob, the youngest, of six siblings total.
“All his life he talked about the Army, which was his life. To see a place named for him is enormous,” Bob Said.
On Saturday, two dozen members of the Heindl family will be there in Georgia. Father Heindl's spirit, no doubt, will be with them, as well.
"And he probably is up there in heaven, looking down, saying yes, that's awesome,” said Kay.