LOWER ALLEN TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — Honoring the legacy of a fallen soldier, a Cumberland County VFW post renamed its location in her honor. The Lower Allen VFW Post 7530 is now named the Kimberly Ann Fahnestock-Voelz Memorial Post.
An unveiling ceremony of the new name Saturday cemented her legacy.
“Long after we’re gone her name will be here,” Kimberly’s mother Carol Fahnestock said.
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Friends, family and fellow soldiers came together to watch the unveiling and remember Kimberly as a daughter, sister and warrior.
“She was an adventurer at heart and it was about never having a dull moment and wanting to live life on the edge,” Kimberly’s brother Mark Fahnestock said.
Carol said, “She’s always said to me, ‘Mom I want to do exciting things with my life and see the world.'”
Mark said his sister was always fearless.
“She used to be a barrel-racing specialist for horses,” he said.
Later, she dropped out of college and joined the army, not telling her family at first.
“I remember her coming home and telling us about this and my parents about falling out of their chair,” Mark said.
Kimberly quickly joined a specialized unit defusing bombs. She was the only woman, serving alongside her husband Max Voelz.
“She loved it, it was her passion,” Mark said.
In December 2003, Kimberly was trying to cut down an IED in order to disable it when it exploded, mortally wounding her. Just 27, Kimberly later died in her husband’s arms.
“She symbolizes the best ideals of our nation and the Veterans of Foreign Wars,” commander of the Lower Allen VFW post-Jeff Puckett said.
Puckett helped spearhead the renaming effort and led Saturday’s unveiling ceremony.
“She’s not alone, and she never will be alone and her name will never be forgotten,” he said.
Seeing her daughter’s name on the wall was an emotional moment for Kimberly’s mother Carol.
“I really broke down when I first saw it yesterday,” she said.
Kimberly’s name on the wall is not the only way the VFW post is honoring her legacy. A display in the lobby tells her story, complete with pictures, stories from her family members, and the various honors she received from the military.
“Every day, we remember it but to have other people remember it, it just meant the world to us,” Carol said.
Her daughter may be gone, but Carol says she wants people to learn from how Kimberly lived.
“Do what you want to do because life is short and you never know if you’re going to have tomorrow,” she said.
Puckett also told abc27, as far as he knows, that this is one of the first VFW posts in the country named for a soldier who died in combat after 9/11.