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Hartselle soldier's funeral is Saturday

By Deangelo Mcdaniel 340-2469

OAK RIDGE — Jim "Bo" Kaylor remembers the day his stepson told him he was going to be driving a Bradley fighting vehicle in Iraq.

"I thought they better have a good mechanic because he was rough on vehicles," Kaylor recalled.

Despite all the fond memories he has of Cpl. Jon-Erik Loney, Kaylor and his wife, Violet, will do something Saturday no parent wants to do: bury a child.

Funeral for Jon-Erik Loney will be Saturday at 2 p.m. at Bible Baptist Church with the Rev. Glenn Swaggerty and the Rev. Harold Swaggerty officiating. The body will be at the church one hour before the funeral.

Burial will be in Oak Ridge Cemetery with full military honors. The family will receive friends Friday from 3 until 9 p.m. at Peck Funeral Home in Hartselle.

Jon-Erik Loney, 21, died Nov. 28 in Iraq when a roadside bomb exploded near the Humvee he was driving. The family does not know if someone detonated the bomb with a remote control or if Loney ran over it with his vehicle.

He was the 2,881st soldier killed in Iraq since the war began in March 2003. He enlisted in the Army in February 2005.

Mayor Dwight Tankersley said Hartselle will honor Loney on Saturday by lining Main Street and U.S. 31 with American flags and flying the flag at City Hall at half-staff.

"We want to let the family know how much we appreciate the ultimate sacrifice they have made," Tankersley said.

Loney, a 2003 Danville High graduate, was in the Salahuddin province moving toward Baghdad when he died.

Salahuddin, which includes former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, is about 40 miles north of Baghdad. "We're very proud of our son," an emotional Kaylor said Tuesday. "He was our hero before he went to Iraq and he's our hero today."

Kaylor said the military notified them Monday that their son's body had arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

"They did not tell us when he would be back in Alabama, but they said they would notify us," he said.

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