Family hopes young Indiana guardsman’s life inspires others to live selflessly

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The family of Pfc. Matthew Roecker, a 19-year-old killed in a hit-and-run in Bloomington over the weekend, will never forget the young guardsman’s faith in God nor the way he cared for those he loved.

They hope his memory will inspire others to care more about people.

Roecker was fatally injured at the intersection of W. 17th Street and Kinser Pike. Family said he was on his way home from serving at a Bloomington longterm care facility where he was deployed by the Indiana National Guard to help with the COVID-19 response.

The driver of the other vehicle fled the scene, but Bloomington Police arrested him the next day.

Roecker was a mechanic with the 139th Forward Support Company based in Crawfordsville.

“He didn’t want to go fight wars, he wanted to stay here, and he wanted to be able to help his fellow Americans,” said Tonya Peterson, Roecker’s aunt. “That’s just exactly what he was doing.”

Peterson did not want to dwell on the crime, but rather hopes her beloved nephew’s memory will lead more people to compassion, love and forgiveness.

“Love one another,” Peterson said. “Just like our granny always told us, ‘There’s enough hate in this world that we do not need to contribute to that.'”

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