Patriot Guard remembers fallen soldier from Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 July 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers
KNOWLESVILLE – Rob Podlaski, a member of the Patriot Guard Riders, presents of a portrait of the Jason Johnston to his mother, Jenny Johnston, during opening ceremonies at the Orleans County 4-H Fair this evening.

Specialist Jason Johnston was 24 when he was killed in Afghanistan in the War on Terror on Dec. 26, 2009. Johnston was on his second deployment. He was also a paratrooper.

He completed a 13-month-deployment in 2008 and left again for the war-torn country in October 2009. He was killed by a roadside bomb the day after Christmas.

Jenny Johnston holds the portrait of her son, Jason Johnston.

He was the first soldier from Albion killed in combat since Rick Engle was killed in Vietnam on Feb. 2, 1968.

The Patriot Guard Riders wanted Johnston’s family to know his sacrifice – their sacrifice – hasn’t been forgotten, Podlaski said.

The Patriot Guard presented a remembrance portrait to Johnston’s mother and sister, Heather Johnston, this evening. Heather accepted the portrait on behalf of Brad Johnston, her and Jason’s father.

State Sen. Rob Ortt, a veteran who served in Afghanistan, meets Jenny and Heather Johnston after the Patriot Guard presentation. State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, right, also greets the family.

Ortt said “Gold Star” families deserve the community’s utmost respect.

“We owe a debt of gratitude for what he sacrificed,” Hawley said about Johnston.

The Patriot Guard joined local veterans during opening ceremonies for the fair.

About 30 members of the Patriot Guard attended the presentation in honor of Jason Johnston.

The Patriot Guard salutes during the opening ceremony.