New Castle family mourns soldier death
January 7, 2017
For one New Castle family, Christmas Day brought heartbreaking news — the loss of their youngest son, 27-year-old Noah Maxwell Leffler-Herter, a drill instructor in the U.S. Army. Leffler was found unresponsive in his residence located on the Army base in Fort Benning, Georgia.
He was well known locally, born into the military family of Paul Leffler and Mandy Slingluff in Glenwood Springs on July 22, 1989, and raised in New Castle, the family home just up Garfield Creek. With three sisters and one brother, Leffler was the youngest of the children. Despite being the baby, Leffler's father said he was the warrior of the family.
"We named him Noah Maxwell, which we later found out in the book of names means 'Peaceful Warrior," said Paul Leffler. "He lived up to that."
Noah Leffler went to New Castle grade schools and Yampah Mountain High School. He had an active childhood filled with mountain climbing, snowboarding, hunting, fishing and martial arts. At the age of 15, he worked at a security company with his father. He also worked at a child care center while attending school.
"He understood protecting the public," his father said, "… and he would work with the little kids. He was not only a warrior, he was a lover of people."
Though Noah had many outdoor hobbies and passions, Leffler's family says his real determination was to serve in the military. Leffler wasted no time entering the Army, leaving for basic training straight out of high school in June 2008.
"He spent what should have been his years chasing girls and driving fast cars, guarding and protecting our freedom," said Paul Leffler. "He was bound and determined … a good soldier."
Noah Leffler had a career of eight years in the Army, his most recent posting in Fort Benning shortly after completing drill instructor school last year in Fort Jackson, North Carolina. In the beginning of his career after completing infantry school, he was sent to Afghanistan for one year with the 10th Mountain Division. Upon his return from Afghanistan, Leffler transferred to the Third Infantry in Fort Benning. He later transferred to the Second Infantry in Washington state, his final stop before being selected to become a drill instructor. According to Paul Leffler, this was a rare offer.
"He was picked by the Army to attend, an opportunity that only 1 percent of soldiers qualify for," he said.
Though Noah's life was ended prematurely, his family says he had goals for post-military life. At the time of Noah's death, he had slightly under two years left with the Army. He had planned to take over his father's log home finishing business with his older sister, and live in a tiny house built by Paul on the family property.
"A lot of vets when they get out, their future is so dim," said Paul Leffler. "We wanted to make sure that was covered, with a home and a business. He was very excited, and had a very bright future."
After completing school, the family was able to see and spend time with Noah during a final visit home in November before his passing on Christmas Eve. The actual cause of Noah's death is confidential and currently being investigated by the Army.
According to Noah's family, he would want to be remembered as fun loving person, who always had a good joke and a heart for people. Someone who always respected, his loving father and his mom, his mother said.
"Everything good that you could think of a person, that was him." said Leffler. "He could have done anything he wanted to do, but he chose to serve our country. That's what he would want to be remember as."
Services are being held at Farnum Holt at 1 PM on Saturday, June 7th. Flags in New Castle will also be lowered Saturday in Noah's honor. There is an upcoming unit memorial service for Noah in Georgia at an undisclosed location. The family has created an account in the name of Noah's daughter from a previous marriage, Alyssa leffler-Herter, who is said to have been the 'light of Noah's life.' Donations may be made to the account at any Alpine bank in lieu of flowers.