Hundreds line streets for fallen soldier in Columbus

Military members move Sgt. Jonathon Hunter’s casket to a hearse at the Columbus Municipal Airport on Aug. 22, 2017. (WISH Photo/Tim McNicholas)

COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) — Hundreds of people lined a procession route through Columbus on Tuesday to honor a 23-year-old soldier killed in action in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Jonathon Hunter was a 2011 Columbus East High School graduate. He was one of two soldiers killed by a suicide bomber on Aug. 2.

Military members carried Hunter’s casket from a plane to a hearse at the Columbus Municipal Airport. The procession then moved through a 4.5-mile path lined with people waving American flags.

Denise Muncy is a childhood friend and former neighbor of Hunter.

“I’m proud of him. It’s sad but he was out there doing what he wanted to do. He was so brave, always,” Muncy said.

Pouring rain didn’t stop Muncy from showing her respect for Hunter because he always showed respect for her.

“I’ve got tea party memories. He was a good friend to partake in my little girly games,” Muncy said.

Hunter joined the military in 2014 and got married this past October.

His old basketball coach, Ruben Martinez, said Hunter was a leader even in the sixth grade.

“He was one of those people, of course, a team player. Which fits him perfectly especially going into the service,” Martinez said.

Hunter was in Afghanistan just 30 days on his first overseas assignment before he was killed.

Muncy said she’s grateful she caught up with him last winter. But she wished she could tell him just one last thing.

“I love you. I’ve always been proud of you. That handsome smile, I won’t ever forget it,” Muncy said.

Hunter’s funeral will be at 2 p.m. Saturday in the gym at Columbus East High School, 230 S. Marr Road.

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