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Army veteran's kind last act comforts grieving family

After watching their son survive a pair of military stints in Kuwait and Afghanistan, Andrew Steiner's parents were devastated when he was killed helping the victims of a minor Brown County traffic crash last month. But Douglas and Nicole Steiner took solace in one fact: Steiner died the way he lived, helping other people.

Andrew Steiner, a 26-year-old U.S. Army reservist, was driving to Howard just after midnight Jan. 27 when he and a friend came upon the scene of a minor crash. As they checked on the vehicles' occupants, another vehicle slammed into the wreckage, launching Steiner over an overpass railing about 30 feet away.

He was hospitalized with broken bones and severed arteries, injuries that eventually took his life, according to a Green Bay Press-Gazette report.

"Andy was just doing what Andy does," Douglas Steiner said. "He cares."

Andrew Steiner's funeral Friday featured a full military send-off, with fellow members of his reserve unit, Desert Storm veterans and members of the Patriot Guard paying their respects and recalling his work overseas.

The military presence, along with warm messages on Steiner's Facebook page, brought comfort to the family, his parents said.

"These days, you hear about young people dying from drugs, alcohol, suicide," Douglas Steiner said. "Andy was trying to do something good, because he had a warm heart. And people who didn't even know him have been giving us warm thoughts. I think that helps."

Andrew Steiner and his friend, Matt Miller, were driving to meet Steiner's parents when they came upon the crash scene. They nearly crashed into one of the disabled vehicles themselves, Miller said.

Steiner turned on his truck's flashers to warn oncoming motorists, and then he and Miller got out to check on the vehicle occupants. No one was seriously hurt, but both vehicles were absolutely dark and nearly invisible. Two vehicles that whizzed by narrowly missed them, but a third crashed into one of the disabled vehicles, shoving it into the two men.

"It's sad that the other cars that were zipping through didn't stop," Douglas Steiner said.

"Especially after almost hitting me," Miller said.

Miller suffered a bruised hip, but Steiner's injuries were clearly life-threatening.

"It was a rough week . watching him battle to try to stay alive, where one minute he seems OK and the next he's going downhill again," Douglas Steiner said. "It got worse and worse."

Andrew Steiner had enlisted in the reserves in 2006, two years after he graduated from high school. He was recently promoted to sergeant.

While his death left his family and friends devastated, Steiner's parents took comfort that their son's last act was one of compassion.

"We're proud of him," Douglas Steiner said. "The fact is, Andy is deceased because he was trying to do something good. I wouldn't look at this any different than if Andy was overseas and his life was taken there."

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