Steve Metzler hired Luke J. Zimmerman to work in the back of his wife”s restaurant, but soon moved him to the front. “He started out as a dishwasher, but we found out what a great people person he was and how much everyone liked him, so we put him out front as a cashier,” said Metzler. Zimmerman, 24, of Luxemburg, Wis., was killed during combat Oct. 27 in Anbar province. He was a 2000 high school graduate and was assigned to Camp Lejeune. “As long as I”ve known him, his dream was to be a Marine,” said Metzler”s son, Troy, adding that Zimmerman had served in Hawaii, Japan and Austria before Iraq.
In high school, Zimmerman was a wrestler, and coach Bob Berceau said he was a hard worker. “Just a go-getter, he always had a lot of fire in him,” he said. During boot camp, Zimmerman often finished at the front of the pack during training runs. Zimmerman couldn”t attend Troy Metzler”s wedding so he wrote his friend a letter telling him how much their friendship meant to him. It was read at Metzler”s Aug. 5 nuptials. “That was all the gift that I needed,” said Metzler. He is survived by his parents, Claire and Richard Dombrowski.
24, of Luxemburg, Wis.; assigned to 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Oct. 27 from injuries sustained while conducting combat operations in Taqaddum, Iraq.
Luke graduated from Luxemburg-Casco Wisconsin High School in 2000 where he lettered in wrestling, track and cross-country. He was a member of the 1999 state wrestling team. During school he worked at a cafe as a dishwasher, but the owners discovered Luke was very much a people person, so they put him to work as the cashier. He worked there for four years, never missing a day of work. It was his dream since middle school to become a United States Marine, and he joined after graduation.
During boot camp, he often finished at the front of the pack because he was such a fast runner. He served for four years, based in Japan, the United States Embassy in Austria and finally at Quantico, Virginia. He felt he wasn’t doing what a Marine should be doing, so he reenlisted and volunteered to serve in Iraq. He left for there in July 2006.
Luke was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He was awarded the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Iraqui Campaign Service Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal with one star in lieu of second award, War on Terrorism Service Medal, Nacy Unit Commendation Navy/Marine Corps, Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with three Bronze Star Devices, and the National Defense Service Medal.
Luke is survived by his mother Claire (Denissen) and and step-father, Richard B. Dombrowski Jr., who filled the role of his absent biological father and treated Luke as his own child since Luke was in the third grade. He is further survived by his brother Leonardo C. Zimmerman and his two step-sisters Brooke M. Dombrowski and Toni L. Dombrowski; his birth father, Wesley Zimmerman; maternal grandfather, Alfred Denissen; uncles and aunts, Michael and Rose Denissen; Robert and Christine Belport; Scott and Linda Denissen; Dean and Julie Hoegger; Kurt and Monica Denissen; Donald and Katherine Brosig; loving cousins, and step-grandmother, Rosemary Gagnon.
He was preceded in death by his maternal grandmother Mary Denissen and paternal grandmother Patricia Zimmerman. In addition to his family, Luke is survived by his great friends, Steve and Julie Metzler and their sons: Scott, Troy, Greg, and Eric. The Metzler family assisted in raising him to be the fine man he became.
Luke was a classmate and good friend of Corporal Jesse Thiry who was killed in Iraq in 2004.