Hometown statue honors Iowa Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan


At the time of his death, a photograph from the funeral of a U.S. Navy SEAL from northern Iowa went viral when his dog led family members into the service, settled next to his casket during the ceremony and refused to leave.

The Mason City Globe Gazette reports the officer and his loyal pet have been memorialized in a life size statue. The bronze likeness of Petty Officer Jon Tumilson and his dog Hawkeye was unveiled at the Rockford Fossil and Prairie Park on Friday night. More than 200 people attended the dedication.

Tumilson was one of 30 American troops killed in a deadly attack in Afghanistan on Aug. 6, 2011, when their helicopter was shot down en route to a combat mission.

His family provided photos and measurements such as his shoe size to the sculptor to aid him in creating an accurate statue. The finished likeness depicts Tumilson, an avid runner, in motion with Hawkeye at his side.

KIMT reported that the community also honored Tumilson's memory with a Freedom Fest run on Saturday. The second annual run brought friends, family and military colleagues from around the country to Rockford to take part in the activities. Other Freedom Fest events included family activities at the park, a concert and fireworks.

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