Slain war veteran's mom heads to Iraq to seek closure

By Taylor Kearns - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - She was greeted by veterans like a veteran.

"We wanted to make sure she knows she's supported by the veterans community and that she's loved by us," said one veteran.

Elaine Johnson's war story started 7 years ago when her son Darius was killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq. Half of his remains never made it home.

"I felt that my son needed to have a whole funeral service, a memorial service, this is something I wanted to do since 2003," said Johnson.

She's been steadily raising money since July, finding help from Gold Star Mothers -- area veterans groups and public contributions. Five thousand dollars later and she's on her way with a group called Hugs for Healing.

"The ones who have supported me, it's just God moving," said Johnson. "It's a blessing. It's a blessing."

Johnson says she's still blessed despite having lost her son. And as she stops to talk with other service members, it's clear she still loves the military.

"He loved his job he loved the Army," said Johnson. "It made him a momma's boy to a momma's man."

With the trip, Elaine hopes she will finally have closure -- a big step toward healing that she's waited for 7 years for.

"That's what I'm praying for," said Johnson. "That's what I'm praying for."

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