Statue to honor fallen Navy Seal - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Statue to honor fallen Navy Seal

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ROCKFORD (KWWL) -

Five days after Jon Tumilson would have turned 36, Tumilson and his dog Hawkeye will be memorialized together forever.

The moment of loyalty, love, and loss captured at Tumilson's August 2011 funeral has resonated with those well beyond Jon Tumilson's family.

"It was about soldiers that had given their lives for this country," said Tumilson's sister Joy McMeekan.

Hawkeye grabbed national headlines when he laid at the foot of his owner's casket during the funeral.

But almost a year later it's evident that moment symbolized  much more

"He kind of represented how we all felt. A part of us was missing and a part of us was gone, and he kind of exemplified it for the country," McMeekan said.

Saturday Tumilson's home town of Rockford is commemorating the fallen navy seal.

In a peaceful park in front of a large gathering of onlookers George and Cathy Tumilson broke ground where a bronze statue depicting their son and Hawkeye will soon sit.

"The navy seals and so many others say he was so good at brining people together. I mean look at this," Tumilson said.

Since the crash Tumilson's absence has been felt throughout town.

"My buddy called me up and gave me the news. I just took the phone and handed to my brother. It just didn't hit," said family friend Brent Christesen who looked up to Tumilson as a role model. "His heart, courage, what he did. Him, everything about him."  

Even after his death Tumilson continues to impact those who loved him.

His legacy is being carried on by family launching an organization dedicated to helping care for military men and women collecting non perishables to be sent to deployed troops.

"We've had so many people tell us that their life is just so different since John died, that he just touched them in a special way," Cathy Tumilson said.

It was that moment, that tugged on the heart strings of so many that represents the impact a true hero can have on us all.

 "We don't want people to forget, not just Jon but every soldier that has made that sacrifice because we wouldn't have simple things that we take for granted every day if it wasn't for them," said Cathy Tumilson.

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