"Wills for Heroes" helps Prineville first responders

Free estate planning service offered to police, veterans

"Wills for Heroes" helps first responders

PRINEVILLE, Ore. - Jefferson County Sheriff's Capt. Marc Heckathorn knows first hand how important a will can be.

"My father was the chief of Jefferson County EMS, and died in a car crash this summer," Heckathorn said.

In August, 64-year-old Don Heckathorn was struck and killed by a car whose driver failed to stop at a stop sign off highway 97 just south of Madras.

He did not have a will.

"The more that you can help your loved ones when they are going through something like this, knowing what your wishes are ahead of time will make everything so much easier and so much better for everyone involved," Heckathorn said.

That's why on Friday, Marc and his wife BJ filled out their will in Prineville, thanks to "Wills for Heroes" -- a one-day event offering free estate planning services to veterans and first responders.

"Sitting across from that attorney sometimes that just breaks the barriers they need to go a step further and get a more comprehensive plan in place," said Mercedes Rhoden-Feely, an attorney with Stahancyk, Kent and Hook.

Participants fill out a form, meet with an attorney to go over it, and then have a volunteer witness sign the documents.

"It's something they put off, they don't want to think about their mortality. I want this to go to my spouse, or I would like this to go to my kids. It doesn't take the time and energy that a lot of people think it would," said Frederick Schroeder, another attorney with the law firm.

A simple document, protecting those who protect us.

"There's nothing more important than having this lined out for the people that you love," Heckathorn said.

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