The soldier from Perry Hall who was killed in Afghanistan Saturday will be honored on a newly-dedicated war memorial in downtown Towson.
Army Sgt. Eric M. Houck, 25, and two other soldiers died from gunshot wounds in the Peka Valley of the Nangarhar Province in Afghanistan, the Army said.
Houck and Sgt. William M. Bays, 29, of Barstow, Calif., and Cpl. Dillon C. Baldridge, 22, of Youngsville, N.C., were members of the Army's 101st Airborne Division, based in Fort Campbell, Ky.
Baltimore County Councilman David Marks announced Monday that Houck's name would be added with "respect, love and appreciation for his service" to the new war memorial in front of the Historic Courthouse, in Towson.
The 6,400-pound granite memorial, which is situated near the county's Vietnam Memorial, includes the names of service members from Baltimore County who lost their lives in the Middle East, including in Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Officials dedicated the monument in November.
The monument includes the names of 27 soldiers and includes their rank, branches of service, and the year in which they died.
"This will be the first name added to the memorial since it was dedicated in November," Marks said, speaking on behalf of the Baltimore County Monument Commission, Inc., a private group that secured the funding to design and build the monument. "We will be inscribing his name as soon as possible and, at the appropriate time for the family, we will have a ceremony to mark his passing."
"The family is going through an awful lot," added Marks, a Republican who represents Perry Hall and Towson. "We just wanted the family to know the community is thinking about them."
Houck graduated from Perry Hall High School in 2009. He married in 2012, ahead of his enlistment, and celebrated a five-year wedding anniversary on June 4, his wife, Samantha Houck, said. The two were high school sweethearts.
The couple lived in the same neighborhood, off Manorfield Road in Perry Hall, throughout their childhood, and attended Joppa View Elementary School and Perry Hall Middle School.
"I always knew it was him," Samantha Houck said Tuesday of her husband, speaking from Fort Campbell. "I was always telling my mom, my sister, my best friend, Brooke, and they're all telling me, 'You're young. You're going to have a lot of love stories,' but it was him. I loved him, and I knew it was him from when I was a little girl."
Houck leaves behind two children — a son Eric Jr., 5, and a daughter Violet, 3, who Samantha Houck said were her husband's "life."
"He was the most selfless person," Samantha Houck said. "He put our babies on top of everything. He always made sure they were good. He was always there for everybody — whether it be emotional support, financial support or a shoulder to lean on."
The Perry Hall Improvement Association will also host a wreath laying ceremony at Perry Hall's veterans' memorial, at Perry Hall Elementary School, 9021 Belair Road, on Thursday at 7:30 a.m.