Family of Omaha veteran killed on JFK Highway while volunteering speaks about loss and hope

Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 10:58 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - 6 News spoke with the family of the man killed on JFK Highway Thursday afternoon. Seventy-year old John Holcomb was struck and killed while volunteering with the Nebraska State Patrol motor vehicle assistance program.

A Motorist Assist volunteer was killed while clearing debris from the highway Thursday.
A Motorist Assist volunteer was killed while clearing debris from the highway Thursday.(WOWT)

“I have to say whoever hit him I know it wasn’t on purpose and they will live with a pain and heartache we can’t understand,” stepdaughter Jessica Stanfield said.

So much heartbreak and still in shock, Jessica Stanfield over the loss of her step-father and Diane Holcomb the loss of her husband, sat down to speak with 6 News on Thursday evening.

“His loves in this life,” Jessica said. “My mom, his son Chris, me, and my sister Mara and his grandchildren he adored his grandchildren.”

John Holcomb leaves behind four grandchildren, a son, a step-daughter, and of course his wife, who told 6 News John was supposed to be Vietnam today celebrating his career as a Marine, but the pandemic changed those plans.

“He loved being a Marine,” said Stanfield. Diane Holcomb adding, “That was probably his proudest . . . . purple heart marine.”

They said John’s service with the state patrol was a perfect fit; he’d been doing it for about 6 years.

“The guy was never sitting down for long, he loved serving he loved helping,” said Stanfield, noting the family knew it was risky work. They said John would talk about people not slowing down, nor moving over to the proper lanes to pass by.

“Just the other day he was talking to the children about the risk of the work he does with the state patrol,” said Stanfield, noting they hope John’s death will lead to some change; that maybe people will pay more attention on the roads.

“You don’t want to see it happen again,” Stanfield said.

“It’s preventable,” Holcomb said. “It didn’t have to be.”

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