CRANE CREEK “He would always wake up and call me beautiful,” Tammie Kunst said. “He was an awesome husband who always took care of his family. He was always my hero. And to hear everyone call him that now is very touching and comforting.”

Kunst had been married to her husband, Andrew, for 25 years, and those years, she said, were the best years of her life.

On Friday, Sept. 27, the quiet, dedicated Grayson-area man responded to someone else in need, and made the ultimate sacrifice. While he was making an early-morning delivery to a Marathon station in Seaman, Ohio, he confronted an assailant who was attempting to kidnap the cashier who worked there, according to local police.

Kunst, his wife said, had a concealed carry permit, but he was following the rules and was not carrying that weapon while working.

The danger did not deter the weaponless Kunst, however.

“It was obvious that he was trying to help her,” said Adams County Sheriff Kimmy Rogers, who responded to the call. “He could have run, or he could have hid in his truck; but he confronted the assailant instead.”

The assailant fatally shot Kunst and wounded the clerk before fleeing the scene. Later, the assailant died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound while fleeing from authorities, Rogers said.

“I know that he did what he did because it was the right thing to do,” Tammie Kunst said.

Both Penny Troupe and Tammie Kunst said that they hope Kasey DePriest, the clerk who was wounded, makes a full recovery and can move forward with her life.

“If any good comes out of this, it will be her being able to have a wonderful life,” Tammie Kunst said. Andrew, she said, would have wanted it that way.

Wilma DePriest, the mother of Kasey, said her daughter thought highly of Andrew.

“Mommy, he was the nicest person you could ask for,” DePriest quoted her daughter. “He saved my daughter,” she added. And the act is something for which she will be eternally grateful.

“There is no doubt in my mind that, even knowing what would happen, he wouldn’t hesitate to do it again,” sister Penny Troupe said. “There is evil in the world, and sick people in the world. But there are still good people in the world, too. And my brother was one of the best.”

Tammie and Andrew Kunst met in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Andrew grew up. When the pair eventually married, they decided to move to Kentucky, where Tammie’s family lived.

Tammie Kunst said that her husband’s company has been extremely supportive to her, and the people Andrew worked with have reached out to her personally to offer comfort and assistance in the midst of her grief. A group of family and friends gathered at the Kunst home this past Saturday to celebrate his life and share memories and comfort.

HT Hackney is going to put decals on their trucks in remembrance of Andrew and his heroic act, Tammie Kunst said. In a show of support, Troupe, whose husband is also a truck driver, said that his employer has voiced a desire to do the same.

“The support of the community is overwhelming and appreciated,” Tammie Kunst said. “But Andrew made sure that everything would always be taken care of. “

Kunst said that, should anyone wish to honor Andrew’s memory, they might consider donating in his name to St. Jude’s Hospital. “He always supported them,” she said. “Helping them was very important to him.”

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