Final Salute For Easley Soldier - WSPA.com

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Final Salute For Easley Soldier

Posted: Updated:
DACUSVILLE, S.C. -

Updated: May 1, 2013

Inside Rock Springs Baptist Church close family and friends had the chance to say goodbye to 20 year old Private First Class Barrett Austin.

But even those who weren't inside the church wanted their chance to honor the fallen soldier.

So they lined the streets, holding American flags and watched as a procession of cars and army vehicles led Austin to his final resting place.

"When a young man comes home this way we want to show our support," Veteran Richard Meyers said.

Austin died last week after he was injured in an IED explosion in Afghanistan.  

Veteran Richard Meyers served in the Vietnam War. Meyers remembers back then soldiers were not welcomed home with open arms, but he's glad to see things have changed.

"It's very heartfelt to see the publics support for our military today," Meyers said.  

Meyers says Austin's death is a reminder that you should be thankful to those who defend your freedoms.

"When a soldier comes by you shake their hand and thank them for their service I know I do it," Meyers said.

For Austin each one of these flags was just that, a thank you for his service. 

"I never had to serve in combat and I feel for the ones do, so I just think our country has come a long way and we still have a ways to go, but were a great country" Air Force veteran Paul Smith said.

A country these veterans say would be no where if it wasn't for the sacrifices of a soldier, like PFC Barrett Austin.

 

Updated: April 30, 2013

Visitation for Private First Class Barrett Austin will be held Tuesday from 6 to 9 p.m. at Rock Springs Baptist Church, 201 Rock Springs Road in Easley.

Funeral will be held Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Rock Springs Baptist Church, 201 Rock Springs Road in Easley.

Burial will follow the funeral at Hillcrest Memorial Park, 2402 Gentry Memorial Highway in Pickens.

Updated: April 28, 2013

The body of a soldier from the Upstate who died after being injured in Afghanistan has been returned home.

Pfc. Barrett Austin's remains were flown in to GSP Airport around 11:30 a.m. Monday.  His casket was then taken to Pickens County.

A crowd gathered at the airport to show support, and then hundreds lined the procession route as the Patriot Guard guided Austin's body to Dillard Funeral Home in Pickens.  Bonnie Rawson, who home schools her three children, brought them so they could learn a valuable lesson about freedom.  "I want it to touch my kids lives because it touched this family's life in a way they'll never get over," Rawson says.  "To come out here and stand with a flag is nothing compared to what these soldiers do."

Many amongst the hundreds of supporters did not know PFC Austin, but still wanted to come and say thank you for his sacrifice.  "It doesn't matter if you knew him," says Jennifer Snow.  "I love this country, and this young man gave the ultimate sacrifice."

People like Robin Johnson remembered Austin as a "kindhearted" young man, who went to high school prom with her daughter.  "He had a smile that spread from ear to ear," she says through tears.  "I've been out here 2 hours and I'd stay another 10 just to say thank you and salute him one more time."

Funeral arrangements are as follows:

Visitation will be held Tuesday from 6 to 9 p.m. at Rock Springs Baptist Church, 201 Rock Springs Road in Easley.

Funeral will be held Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Rock Springs Baptist Church, 201 Rock Springs Road in Easley.

Burial will follow the funeral at Hillcrest Memorial Park, 2402 Gentry Memorial Highway in Pickens.

Posted: April 24, 2013

A solider from the Upstate has died after serving in Afghanistan. 20-year-old Barrett Austin of Dacusville died Sunday in an Army hospital in Germany after being injured in Afghanistan, according to his grandmother. The family says they were told that Austin was driving a military vehicle when he ran over an explosive device.

Austin's grandmother says that his wife Heather and his parents were at his bedside when he passed away.

Austin Lanier, a close friend of Barrett's, says he always wanted to serve his country. "He was passionate about it. He wanted to protect people."

Lanier and other friends planted American flags in Austin's neighborhood, alongside yellow ribbons, to greet the family as they return home. "It's just our way of remembering him."

Marion Lawson, principal of Pickens High School, remembers the 20 year old as a "good kid", who was full of life. "He never had a cross word, and he was always positive," says Lawson. Pickens High had a moment of silence Monday, and flags stood at half staff at the school in memory of the 20 year old soldier.

A permanent memorial will go up at Pickens High School to remember Private First Class Barrett Austin.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

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