PAYSON, Utah -- In the backyard of the Towse home, a group of neighbors working in the yard are proof that in a time of pain and sadness, hope can still grow.
“It’s unbelievable the love we’ve seen. Our yard was a disaster, it’s just beautiful now,” Jim Towse said.
Friends have been helping out at the house since Tuesday, when Towse received word that his son, Army Private First Class Cody Towse, was missing in Afghanistan.
“The chaplain and another officer came to the house, about 11:30, and knocked on the door," Towse said. "We were in bed ,and my son goes, ‘There’s a couple of guys from the Army out there.’ I just knew. I didn’t want to go to the door.”
Towse was informed that an IED had exploded where Cody was working in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan, killing at least three others.
On Saturday night the Towse family got the rest of the story. Because Cody was a medic, he was sent on every foot patrol. There was an initial explosion that injured members of the patrol. Cody rushed toward the first soldier wounded in the explosion, and a second device exploded and killed him.
Jim Towse said it doesn't surprise him his son died helping someone else. He said that's the way his son has always been.
“That was Cody," he said. "He just, I know he never thought about himself. He loved his guys. His guys loved him. I’m sure he didn’t even think twice.”
Jim Towse said losing Cody has been incredibly difficult for him and his family.
“Nothing compared to losing a child,” he said. “It’s just, I never knew I could feel so much pain and emotion, but you know, he was a great kid.”
Before even joining the army almost two years ago, Cody had already found a way to serve.
Towse said: “He actually became an EMT when he was in high school. I think you had to be 18, and I think the day after he turned 18 he took the test to become an EMT and got one of the highest scores in the state.”
Today, he was an Army medic, well-known and liked even in another part of the world.
“He went to save lives, and that’s what he did," Toswe said. "That was his mission in life."
It was only days after turning 21 on May 8 that his dream was cut short.
“Every time you think of something you’re crying,” Towse said. “I didn’t know I could cry so much. I’m not an emotional person, but Cody was my buddy.”
But even without his son here at home, the memories live on.
“Every time when I drive down the road and see a flag at half mast, it just touches my heart,” Towse said. “We need to respect them, and honor them and fly a flag for them. That’s going to be my mission in life from now on.”
Cody's family has set up a memorial fund under his name at Wells Fargo. Jim Towse said he hopes to use any money donated to build a park in his son's name.