Longtime Weatherman Pays Tribute to Fallen Friend at 'The Walls That Heal'
Longtime Lilly Broadcasting weatherman Joey Stevens approached The Walls that Heal with one person on his mind.
"It's really kind of an emotional thing," said Stevens. "You see all these names."
In 1967, Stevens' close friend Michael Heitger joined the Marine Corps.
"This particular gentleman Mike Heitger was a dear friend," said Stevens. "He and I played football together for three years in high school. He was a center. I was a quarterback."
A year later, at the age of 19, Heitger was killed in Vietnam.
"I remember in 1968, that's when he was killed," said Stevens. "Learning that he had died, it was very, very emotional."
In 1971, Stevens though he might be drafted as well.
"At the end of my college career, I got the letter in the mail saying we'd like you to go to Buffalo and take your physical and I thought, oh boy, here we go," said Stevens. "I'd just gotten engaged and was ready to get on with my life."
In the same year, the Selective Service System announced that no one with a lottery number above 125 would be drafted. Stevens' number was 166.
"I often wonder what my life would have been like, it could have been completely different," said Stevens. "I could have gone over to Vietnam like Mike, and other friends and maybe never came back."
While Heitger is gone, Stevens says he will not be forgotten.
"Until you actually know somebody, whether it's a family member, or a friend, classmate, it takes on a whole different significance," said Stevens. "It's kind of interesting. It's raining here, this morning. Tears from heaven. Tears from heaven."