Finding a car to connect a son with his father, a fallen soldier
MOORE, Texas – Even in the United States, Justin Rozier has been thinking lately about a car. Specifically, he told his mom, Jessica, he would love to have a car – any car – that his dad once owned.
“I mean, it could have been a 1974 Dodge Astro – I do not even know if it’s a car – but it’s got to have anything and he would have said, ‘Yes,'” Jessica said.
Why? “I know that he wishes his dad was here,” Jessica answered.
Army 1st Lt. Jonathan Rozier and his son, Justin Rozier. CBS NEWS
In 2003, Justin’s dad, Army 1st Lt. Jonathan Rozier, died in Iraq. Justin was nine months old. Today, he cherishes anything that used to belong to his dad – which is why he thought it would be so cool to have his car.
“I do not know, just knowing that he has it – it’s a whole lot different than just any other thing,” Justin said.
Unfortunately, after Jon died, Jessica had to sell the car – a ’99 Toyota Celica convertible. Finding it again would be nearly impossible, but Jessica said she had to at least try.
A 1999 Toyota Celica covertible. CBS NEWS
“I feel like this is something connecting him,” Jessica said.
But this is a needle in a haystack.
“Well, I’ve seen magical things happen on Facebook,” Jessica said.
So she turned to Facebook – posted the old VIN with a note asking for help. And somehow that message made it all the way to Pleasant Grove, Utah – where the local residents not only found the car, but decided to go a step further.
“We decided, let’s see if we can buy the car,” said Kyle Fox. “So I’m always trying to do something like that to serve.”
Now, I’m not saying Kyle is a saint, but a butterfly did land on him in the middle of our interview – and stayed there for half an hour.
Kyle Fox runs a non-profit called “Follow the Flag.” CBS NEWS
“Now I do not even know where I was,” Kyle said, distracted.
Anyway, Kyle, who runs a nonprofit called Following Flag, got donations to purchase the car, and then assembled a team volunteer mechanics to fix it like new – all unbeknownst to Justin until last month, when Kyle drove the car from Utah to surprise Justin for his 15th birthday.
I can not tell you what this meant to Justin. I mean, I really can not. He tried to explain it to me, but when he opened his mouth no words fell out.
Justin Rozier in the ’99 Toyota Celica that once belonged to his father – a fallen soldier. CBS NEWS
“It’s a link to the past for him.” It’s a big thing for me too, so I just need to say that, “Justin said.
Obviously, this was never about a car. No, this is about trying to remember what you can know about the country so grateful and kind you can not imagine.