Capt. Aaron J. Eidem, a 37-year-old member of the U.S. Army who won both the Bronze Star and Purple Heart during his 20 years of service, was killed in Springfield, Missouri, while helping a stranded motorist on Feb. 18.
Eidem, who was in active duty, was on his way home to Webb City when he stopped to help someone with a flat tire off Interstate 44. Patrol Sgt. Jason Pace told the Springfield News-Leader that Eidem was planning to help the driver move his car the the right shoulder of the road when a semitrailer driven by Thomas Fruth struck Eidem’s empty car, which then hit Eidem.
The semitrailer also hit another vehicle driven by 19-year-old Keely Keepper and another semitrailer, although no one was injured in those vehicles.
Eidem later died in a Springfield hospital, leaving behind his wife and three children.
In addition to his service in the Army, Eidem was also an adjunct faculty member and assistant professor of military science at Missouri State University. Victor Matthews, dean of the College of Health and Human Services called Eidem a "highly respected leader developer,” who was deployed to combat three times.
Despite the tragedy of Eidem’s death, his wife, Amber Eidem, has started a GoFundMe fundraiser to benefit transplant recipients, a cause that was near to the family’s heart.
“After losing my husband in a terrible accident, I had a tough decision to make to donate a piece of him. I did not want to lose anymore of him, but he's a donor, and I know he would want to if he was able,” she wrote.
“Also having a mother that is a transplant recipient, this fundraiser is near and dear to both myself and my husband. Transplantation is very expensive and thousands die due to not being able to cover it.”
By Feb. 22, the fundraiser had raised $1,840 of its $100,000 goal. The money will go to benefit the Donate Life charity.