May 10, 2018

Teenager who never knew his military father is surprised with the perfect gift

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Justin Rozier was nine months old when his father died during military service. He was desperate for something, anything, to link him to the man he never knew.

Justin, who lives with his mother Jessica Johns in Moore, Texas wanted a car. It's a reasonable request for a teenage boy, but Justin had a specific vehicle in mind. 

He wanted a vehicle that had belonged to his father. In an interview with Steve Hartman from CBS News, his mother explained that any car would do, even if it was an old model from 1970's. 

She said it was about so much more than a tangible object. Justin's father, Jonathan, was an Army 1st Lieutenant and died in 2003 while serving in Iraq. 


His mother promised to locate Jonathan's 1999 Toyota Celica convertible. She had to sell the vehicle when he passed away and but feared that tracking it down again would be next to impossible. 

However, she decided to give it a try and posted Justin's request with the vehicle's VIN on Facebook in the hopes that someone, somehow, would recognize the car. 


Miraculously, it worked. Her post was shared by friends, family and strangers, and found it's way to the newsfeed of Kyle Fox who lives three states over. 

Fox manages a non-profit organization in Utah called Follow the Flag. Not only did he track the vehicle down using the registration details provided, but he also renovated the car. 


Unbeknownst to Justin, a team of volunteers including mechanics, panel beaters and upholsterers worked tirelessly to restore the vehicle to its original condition. 

When the vehicle was ready, Fox drove it from Utah to Texas, just in time for Justin's 15th birthday. The CBS reporter was there to witness the joyous occasion and said that Justin was at a loss for words when the car was presented to him. 

Not only did Justin finally have a link to his father, but seeing the car again was also the closure that Jessica needed to move on with her life. 

"It's a link to the past for him. It's a big thing for me too. I never got to see him come home. So that just one moment right there was - I think I needed that." 

Jessica Johns, YouTube/CBS News, November 3, 2017.