Superintendent remembers Heartland soldier killed in Afghanistan

Pvt. Jonathon Michael Dean Hostetter, 20, of Humphreys, Mo. was killed in the line of duty. / courtesy White Sands Missile Range

Weâ??re learning more about the Heartland combat engineer who entered the U.S. Army almost a year ago and was deployed to Afghanistan just four months ago.

We're learning from those who knew Private Jonathan Hostetter, that he paid the supreme sacrifice for his city, his community, and ultimately his country.

â??Very fine young man, one of those kids that always went through the halls with a big smile on his face,â?? said Ryan Livingston, Linn County R-I School superintendent.

Livingston has known Jonathan ever since he was in preschool and watched him grow into a man he says, probably didnâ??t have a single enemy.

Jonathan graduated from Linn County R-I School, in Purdin, Mo two years ago and was just deployed in April 2013.

â??Very good with younger kids even when he was in high school, he helped the younger kids as much as he did his own teammates,â?? said Livingston.

Jonathan was a really good athlete and heavily involved in school and his community.

â??I really thought maybe he would go into education and coaching,â?? said Livingston. â??I think he would have been working with fellow classmates and younger students as well. I think he would have done very well with that.â??

However, Jonathan wanted to serve on a much larger platform. Putting his life on the front lines for our nation's freedom and on the front line is where he lost his life.

He was in Afghanistan for his first deployment supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, when enemy forces attacked his unit with an explosive device, robbing this young soldier's life.

In a statement sent to us by the White Sands Missile Range it reads: â??Our brave men and women are risking their lives daily in the fulfillment of their mission. Private Jonathan Hostetter paid the supreme sacrifice with [his life]...â??

The statement continues, "We will never forget them and their families and what they stood for as they dedicated themselves to a life of selfless, service, and commitment to our nation."

â??I canâ??t say enough about what a fine young man he was, always had a big smile on his face,â?? said Livingston.

A smile and a young life stolen-- for our freedom.

Jonathan was newly married, and leaves behind his wife Tahler Hostetter. He also had two brothers.

There's still no word on when the funeral arrangements will be, but weâ??re told the services will be held in Milan.