TULSA, Okla. - Katy Nelson called it the hardest thing she's ever done.
She returned to Claremore Thursday afternoon after flying to Dover, Delaware, with her daughter-in-law to meet the plane which returned her son's remains to the U. S. from Afghanistan.
PFC Jon Townsend, a 19-year-old U.S. Army infantryman, died in an ambush in Afghanistan last Sunday.
His family, including his mother, his sister Jennifer and his brother-in-law, Paul Tucker, sat down with our KRMG reporter shortly after Nelson returned home.
"It was hard," Nelson told us, her voice breaking as she related the experience. "You see your son coming off the back of the carrier and then they put him in this white van. And you're not allowed to touch him, or see him or anything. It was really hard."
We asked why Jon had decided to join the military and fight for his country.
"When he was tiny, he was 'Walker, Texas Ranger," she said. "And he was that up until he was like 12 years old. He shot bad guys and took care of the good girls and he has always been law enforcement, geared that way, or military that way.
"I knew that if I hadn't signed the papers for him to join the military there probably would have been a rift between me and him and I did not want that because we have had a very special relationship."
They said their close family bonds have helped them weather this terrible time in their lives.
They've also had strong support from the community and have asked those who want to help them honor Jon's memory to contribute to a fund that will help them purchase a headstone for his final resting place.
Any RCB bank can take contributions.
Just indicate that the money is to go to the Jon Townsend Memorial Fund.
You can also call RCB bank at 918-341-6150.
KRMG will expand on this story shortly, please check back.