Fallen Soldier’s Widow Forced To Sell His Car To Meet Ends, 14 Years Later She Tracks It Down For Their Son’s 16th Birthday

Life by Julia Lynn Rubin on 11/13/2017

At the age of 15, Justin Johns was thinking of getting himself a car. But he didn’t want just any old car. Specifically, he longed to have the 1999 convertible Toyota Celica that had sat unused in his family’s driveway until his mother, Jessica Johns, had sold it. The Celica had belonged to his late father, Lieutenant Jonathan Rozier, who’d died serving his country in the Iraq War in an ambush on July 19, 2003. Justin treasures anything that used to be his father’s. After his death, Justin’s mother, Jessica Johns, had to sell it to make ends meet for herself and for Justin, who at the time was just nine-months-old.

American Hero< LT Jonathan D. Rozier >16 July 1978 – 19 July 2003

Posted by Fallen Heroes Honored on Tuesday, July 19, 2016

While searching for a birth certificate, Jessica came across the Toyota Celica’s old registration. This gave her a brilliant idea. While she knew it would be a long shot, she hoped to track down the car that had once belonged to her husband and gift it to Justin for his 16th birthday.

** HELP **Can someone please help me find this car? It's a 1999 Toyota Celica convertible. VIN jt5fg02t3x0055626It…

Posted by Jessica Johns on Friday, August 11, 2017

Jessica posted an ad on Facebook asking for help in locating the car. To her surprise, the story gained traction and went viral. A woman in Utah reached out to Jessica and said that she knew about the car’s whereabouts. The only problem was, it belonged to the woman’s father, and she wasn’t sure he’d want to part with it. Nevertheless, she gave Jessica his contact information.

“If I call and he doesn’t want to sell it then my hopes would be crushed,” Jessica told NBC News. “It took me 12 hours to get the courage to call him.”

Thankfully, the new owner of the car, Jorge Cruz, was happy to give it up after hearing Jessica’s incredible story. “I think that your son will get more enjoyment out of having his dad’s car than I would,” he said.

Just saw this and I'm so glad and also sad that Jorge got to see the end result of the car. I know how hard it must have…

Posted by Jessica Johns on Thursday, October 19, 2017

Jessica’s next step was contacting Follow the Flag, a patriotic non-profit organization in Pleasant Grove, Utah. Together, they started a GoFundMe to raise enough money for her to purchase the car, get it tuned up, and shipped back to Texas just in time for Justin’s sixteenth birthday.

“Imagine the feeling of holding the steering wheel of a car your late father once drove. A father you never knew. A father who died in the line of duty serving his country. What a priceless gift,” the GoFundMe page reads.

When the big day came, Justin was stunned and elated. His mother had managed to keep this all a secret from him until the reveal, in spite of all of the social media attention she’d garnered. “I was waiting for him, for it to click that’s dad’s car,” Jessica said. “He starts looking at it, gets in, he looks so much like his dad.”

Posted by Jessica Johns on Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Lt. Jonathan Rozier graduated from Texas & AM in 2001 before enlisting in the armed services. He was assigned to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 70th Armor Regiment, of the 1st Armored Division. He later worked his way up to Lieutenant before he was deployed in Baghdad during the Iraq War.

“There were no limits to his aspirations,” Jonathan’s father, David Rozier, told Military Times. “He wanted to have a career in the military, clear through to retirement.”

Tragically, Lt. Rozier was killed in an ambush while providing protection for another mission, his unit attacked by rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire. He had just turned 25.

American Hero< LT Jonathan D. Rozier >16 July 1978 – 19 July 2003

Posted by Fallen Heroes Honored on Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Even though Justin never got to know his father, thanks to his amazing mother, he will surely cherish driving his dad’s old Toyota Celica in his honor.

(H/T: Liftable)

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