SALEM, Utah -- Funeral services were held Saturday for an Army medic from Utah who was killed while rushing to the aid of another soldier in Afghanistan.
Specialist Cody Towse, 21, was on foot patrol about two weeks ago when an improvised explosive device went off and injured a fellow soldier. Towse rushed to the injured man, and a second IED detonated and killed him.
Friends and family say Cody was the kind of guy who treated everyone like a best friend, even if he didn’t know them. He was honored Saturday as a soldier, but many close to him remember him as a jokester with a big smile and an even bigger heart.
Ryan Grassley, Cody’s cousin, spoke about the family’s loss.
“Cody is gone, and it's OK to be sad,” he said. “It's okay to cry. It's okay to hold each other as we grieve because all of this is part of the story of Specialist Cody Towse.”
Brig. Gen. John Charlton spoke of Towse, who he said is a hero and an example to follow.
“It's a testament to his incredible bravery and a testament to his devotion to his fellow soldiers, and lastly it’s a testament of his love not only for his country, for the innocent people of Afghanistan who yearn for freedom and a better life,” he said.
Towse wrote on his Facebook wall before his death that he feared Afghanistan was becoming another forgotten war because he felt fallen soldiers were forgotten too quickly. His family said it is because of that comment they want to share memories of their son with anyone who will listen.
“We need to respect all of our veterans, respect the guys who are over there risking their lives, those wounded and those who died," Cody’s father Jim Towse said. "We need a turn out like this at every soldier's return, whether he's killed in action or he comes home alive.”
Cody Towse was laid to rest at Salem City Cemetery.
Gov. Gary Herbert, R-Utah, ordered that flags fly at half-staff Saturday in honor of Towse.
Herbert said in a statement: “With profound sadness we recognize the death of U.S. Army Specialist Cody James Towse, who lost his life while heroically trying to save the life of his fellow soldier. Jeanette and I join Utahns everywhere in mourning his loss and offering our deepest condolences to his family. On behalf of a grateful state and nation, we offer heartfelt thanks for his noble service and extraordinary sacrifice. He will be dearly missed but never forgotten.”
Flags were ordered to be at half-mast Saturday from sunrise to sunset.