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Soldier’s Children Die on the Way to Visit Dad At Hospital

Sad news from Dallas [1], tonight….

Army Spc. John Austin Johnson seemed to have a gift for evading tragedy. During two years in Iraq, the soldier from Fort Bliss, in West Texas, survived five improvised explosive device blasts and several grenade attacks.

“A lot of people go through one IED and don’t survive,” said Army Sgt.  1st Class Eugene Schmidt.

But Spc. Johnson’s luck began to turn with the last IED blast, which left him with a traumatic brain injury. Back in Texas for care at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, he was eagerly awaiting a visit by his wife and three children last weekend.

1021soldierfamily.jpg [2]But the children never arrived.

“I went up to his room and told him there was a problem,” said Sgt. Schmidt, an Army medic who has grown close to the family over the last week. “I told him there was an accident and two of his children were deceased.

Good God.

(Sigh)

I can’t even begin to imagine being put through something like that.  My heart goes out to this soldier and his family.

What’s good though, is the way local people are coming together about this:

As word of the family’s loss spread, support from the military, businesses and strangers poured in. One anonymous donor provided five burial plots in the veterans’ section of Pinecrest Memorial Park in Alexander, Ark., where Spc. Johnson’s grandfather is buried. Another purchased markers for Logan and Ashley.

American Airlines provided seven roundtrip tickets to the funeral, set for Tuesday in Alexander, Ark., and groups such as Soldiers’ Angels, Warrior & Family Support Center and Operation Provide Comfort took care of hotel accommodations, food and travel expenses between West Texas and Dallas.

“It’s been a pleasure and an honor to help them,” Mrs. White-Brunner said.

The Johnsons have been amazed by the flood of support.

Michelle Malkin [3] is also running this story, and she notes:

Donations to help the family cover expenses can be made to the John A. and Monalisa Johnson Fund at any Bank of America

Also blogging: The Jawa Report [4]

BCCT: Memeorandum [1]