Liberal, KS

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Soldier Now Allowed To Come Home

KSCB News - April 14, 2011 8:26 am

A soldier from Garden City, initially told by the Army that he couldn’t fly home for the funeral of his fiance’s son, is now on his way back to Kansas.

Specialist Nick Owen, a truck driver stationed in Kuwait, serving out of Liberal, was informed by the Army that it had reconsidered and he was allowed to return home for the funeral.

One-year-old Kaylien Gonzalez suddenly stopped breathing Sunday. He was being rushed to a Wichita hospital when his heart stopped. Emergency crews couldn’t revive him.

When Owen learned the news, he requested to be allowed to fly home immediately for the funeral, but the Army said no. Since he and Kaylien’s mother aren’t yet married, and the child is not Nick’s biological son, the military said the boy wasn’t considered immediate family.

“A father is one who’s raised a child and been in his life from day one and that is me,” said Owen.

Not wanting to sit on the sidelines, Owen and family and supporters started an effort to convince the Army to allow him to come home.

A Facebook page gathered more than 9,000 supporters and Owen told KSN that he heard even First Lady Michelle Obama clicked on it to support his cause.

It all paid off. The Army told Owen Thursday that he was allowed to fly home for Kaylien’s funeral.

"I saw my son into this world," Owen said in a telephone interview with KSN before he caught a flight out of Kuwait. "And now I want to be able to see him. So he knows I said my last goodbyes."

 

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