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Newsmaker: Jeff Heiger

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010
 

Age: 59

Residence: Valencia in Butler County

Family: Wife, Lauren; sons, James, 28, and Matthew, 27

Occupation: Chief engineer at VA Butler Healthcare

Education: Bachelor's degree in civil engineering, University of Delaware, 1981

Background: A four-year Navy veteran, Heiger has worked for the VA for 26 years. He was appointed VA Butler Healthcare's chief engineer in May 2008.

Noteworthy: Heiger was named the Veterans Health Administration's Chief Engineer of the Year for 2010. Through American Recovery Restoration Act funds, he was able to secure $15.7 million for construction and restoration projects that will offer thousands of local veterans a state-of-the-art health care facility.

Quote: "I feel as if I'm a veteran success story. After two tours in Vietnam, I used the GI Bill to earn my bachelor's degree in civil engineering. For me, to serve our veterans is a privilege. ... The most important lessons I learned in the service were that I was capable of doing more than I thought I could and to never quit."

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