DYER | Fallen Army Staff Sgt. David Nowaczyk's 3-year-old daughter stood among those releasing balloons Saturday in his honor at Pheasant Hills Park in Dyer.
It was so girls like Kiley Nowaczyk could go to school safely that David Nowaczyk, who was on his third tour of duty when he was killed in April 2012, kept returning to Afghanistan, said his father, Andrew Nowaczyk.
“If (that’s) not worth dying for, then what’s worth living for,” Andrew Nowaczyk said.
David Nowaczyk, called “Nova” by his buddies, died after his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan's Kunar Province on April 15, 2012.
During Saturday's ceremony, a sign also was unveiled dedicating the play area at Pheasant Hills as the David Nowaczyk Memorial Playground.
Nowaczyk’s family raised money for the new sign through a golf outing and other fundraisers. The play area at Pheasant Hills faces Kahler Middle School and was chosen because of Nowaczyk's desire to help children, his father said.
While balloons were being released in Dyer, a Gold Star mother in South Dakota was also releasing 100 balloons in Nowaczyk’s memory, said his sister, Megan Smart.
Town Council members also joined the ceremony.
“As the mother of two Air Force (members), now retired, I’d like to say it’s a very proud day,” Town Councilwoman Connee Trepton said.
Park Board president Mike Kapitan said, “Thanks to the sacrifice of (soldiers) like David, little children can play in parks in peace and safety. I can’t think of a better way” to honor his memory.