Indiana soldier killed in Afghanistan lauded at funeral


COLUMBUS, Ind. (WTHR) - Friends, family, and even complete strangers paused to reflect and pay their respects Saturday to remember an American hero.

“I live about 20 some miles away from here and it just mattered to me to show support,” one woman said.

She carried an American flag with her, explaining that the military connection runs deep.

“My grandson is on the USS Texas nuclear submarine and he's in the South Pacific. From one branch of the service to another we're all in this together and I most grateful for his service,” she said.

At the funeral, pictures flashed on the big screen, offering just a glimpse into the life of 23-year-old Sergeant Jonathan Hunter, from growing up to his time in the army.

"He was unafraid to take on that most fearful assignment in war: an airborne landing in the midst of an enemy,” said Gary Covey, 82nd Airborne Division Association Director.

His enlistment in 2014 was his lifelong dream.

“He wanted to be deployed. He kept telling me, dad I want to go, I don't want to just sit here and train train train, which, he trained very hard. He was on his way to a great career, as far as service and rank and everything, so the sky was the limit for him,” his father Mark Hunter said in a previous WTHR interview.

Sergeant Hunter received numerous awards during his time serving our country, including parachuting honors.

Posthumously he's honored with the purple heart and the bronze star.

He is remembered as a leader, a role model, and a family man.

"He loved children. He worked at the Bartholomew County library in children's circulation for five years,” said Army Chaplain Clifford Pappe.

And it's here in his hometown where a newly-established scholarship will also keep his memory alive.

“Your sacrifice will never be forgotten,” a woman said.

Saturday’s funeral wraps up a long three weeks for loved ones.

Sergeant Jonathan Hunter died on August 2 when a suicide bombing by the Taliban killed him.

A Go Fund Me has been established to help his widow Whitney. They would have celebrated their one year anniversary in October.