It is never easy to lose a loved one, but unfortunately, it is something that a significant number of individuals go through at some time in their lives. The process of mourning may last for weeks, months, years, or even decades for some people. Even though it may be difficult to get over this feeling of loss, there are a lot of different ways that individuals may memorialize their departed loved ones and cling to the beloved memories of their past.
Moore, Texas resident Justin Rozier never got to meet his dad. Army First Lieutenant Jonathan Rozier was just 9 months old when he was reported missing in action while fighting abroad, leaving him and his mother, Jessica Johns, behind. Johns updated her husband about their adorable son only 12 hours before he passed away in their last conversation together. Even though it was published in 2017, this narrative has just as much relevance in modern times as it did back then.
After the sudden passing of Jonathan, Johns was left to attempt to put the shards of their life in Texas back together again. She had to find out how to survive emotionally and financially without her spouse, and she had to do it immediately. She was faced with a number of decisions, one of which required her to give up the much-loved black 1999 Toyota Celica convertible that belonged to her husband.
Johns said to NBC that he did not want to continue spending money from his savings to pay for a vehicle that nobody was using. “I didn’t want to keep chipping away at my funds,” Johns said. “It has been there in my driveway for some time.”
Following that, Johns moved on with her life, paying little attention to the car that had been driven by her late husband.
Continue reading to find out more about this tale and how a community joined together to assist a local citizen in reuniting with an item that belonged to a loved one who has passed away.
Let’s go forward in time to when Justin was a teenager—that would be 14 years from now. The young man adored everything that belonged to his father and had a lifelong desire to learn more about his biological father. Even though he possessed his father’s dog tags, photographs, and other cherished items, he couldn’t shake the thought that he should also have his father’s automobile. It was something that his father truly loved. He made an effort to explain it, but he was unable to. He just wanted to ride in the same automobile as his father and to occupy the same seat in the vehicle that his father cherished. At the time, Justin had only one month left to go until he turned 15, but he had already gotten his learner’s permit and was making plans to acquire his license the year after that. The gift of his father’s automobile would be an ideal present for his coming-of-age celebration.
Despite the fact that it was very improbable for her to be successful, Johns made the decision to continue looking for the automobile so she could give it to her kid. Despite this, she had the feeling that she ought to at least give it a go for the sake of her kid. She shared her tale on social media, and news of Justin’s desire swiftly travelled to many other parts of the country.
“I mean, it could have been a 1974 Dodge Astro — I don’t even know if that’s a vehicle — but it could have been anything, and he would have said, ‘Yes.'” “I mean, it could have been anything and he would have said, ‘Yes.'” Johns said in an interview with CBS at the time.
What is the cause? “I know that he wants his dad was here,” she added. “I know that he wishes his dad was here.”
When Justin’s father passed away in Iraq in 2003, he was only 9 months old at the time. Because Justin was deprived of the opportunity to get to know his father at such an early age, he continued to treasure everything else that his father had left behind.
Justin said, “I don’t know, just knowing that he had it — it’s a whole lot different than just about anything else.”
Johns was adamant on granting her son’s birthday request in order to make him happy. She said, “I get the impression that this is something that would link him.” She started her search for the antique automobile on social media platforms, even though it was a difficult task. Johns remembered, “Well, I’ve seen wonderful things happen on Facebook.” “Well, I’ve seen amazing things happen on Facebook.” Long before Justin turned 16, she posted a straightforward appeal on her profile with an outdated picture of the vehicle. This was well over a year in advance. It was extremely essential that she conceal her plan from her son, so she devised an excuse to prevent him from accessing social media in order to fulfill this need.
“I’m curious as to whether or not this automobile is still on the road. I had the idea that I would look for this automobile for a number of years before giving up “— I quote her.
The message made its way to Pleasant Grove, Utah, where it was quickly discovered by the community members who had been searching for the 1999 Toyota convertible. The owner’s daughter contacted Johns and provided him with her father’s contact information, but she also told him that her father may not be really interested in selling. Johns started to feel anxious.
Johns told NBC that his aspirations would be dashed if he called the owner and found out that he was unwilling to sell the property. “It was a whole day before I worked up the nerve to give him a call.”
When she finally got in touch with the owner of the automobile, she explained to them why it was so vital to her to have the car back. At initially hesitant, he eventually responded by saying that he would consider it. It took him barely an hour to call Johns back and provide her the information that she required.
She recounted their talk and said, “I believe that your kid would get more happiness out of owning his dad’s automobile than I would,” which was her assessment of the situation. “I simply started becoming extremely thrilled,” she went on to say.
Even though the automobile had been located and was all set to be sold, there was still one obstacle to overcome: obtaining the necessary finances. This is where local Kyle Fox from Pleasant Grove came in to play.
Fox said to CBS that the decision was made to “let’s see if we can purchase the automobile.” “Therefore, I make it a point to constantly look for opportunities to assist in some capacity.”
Through Fox’s charitable organization, Follow the Flag, which seeks to commemorate the lives of deceased troops and the families they leave behind, funds were gathered for the big surprise. After acquiring the vehicle, Fox assembled a group of local technicians who offered their services for free in order to restore it to pre-owned condition and make it seem brand new. They had to work on the ride for about a month and a half before they were able to get it to Justin in time for his 15th birthday. Fox said that “it’s what we do” and that “it’s something we do in the hopes of influencing others.”
When Justin’s mother and he found out about the surprise at his birthday celebration, they both started crying. Justin’s party was a success. It was a moment that warmed my heart.
“I was waiting for him, for the realization to dawn on him that it is his father’s automobile,” Johns added. “He begins staring at it, climbs in, he looks so much like his dad.”
Naturally, the whole effort to bring the automobile to Justin wasn’t about the vehicle itself, but rather what it meant; a piece of the father he never got to know. This was the driving force behind the endeavor.
“For him, it is a connection to times gone by. It is a significant issue for me as well. I was never there to see his return to the house. That one instant, right there, was all I needed, so thank you for giving it to me “Johns stated.
And of course, it also served as a metaphor for the power that is unleashed inside a community whenever its members band together to assist a member of that community.