MARION CO., Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon Marine Ty Hart, who was killed in a helicopter crash earlier this year, was laid to rest Sunday in an honor burial on his family’s Aumsville property.
A day earlier, hundreds of people lined Wilco Road in Stayton to honor Hart and his family as he returned home to his final resting place. A procession followed Hart’s family from Portland International Airport in a hero’s welcome.
Former teachers, friends and even strangers joined the community gathering to celebrate the homecoming of the Marine who died in a training exercise in Hawaii in January. People planted flags and lit candles to remember the man who has been described as energetic and always with a smile on his face.
“The community is really happy he’s coming home,” said Ashley Outlaw.
Ty’s 6th grade teacher Michael Proctor says every kid that goes through their school system is important, and it’s big that Ty is returning. “It’s huge,” he said “It’s important he is able to come home and is laid to rest in front of his family and friends.”
12-year-old Ethan Kingsbury and his mom, Sarah found out about the procession on social media and pulled out their Fourth of July flags early. “We just want to give support for Ty and his family,” Sarah said.
“He’s someone to look up to,” Ethan said.
Family friend Denise Brant wears the “Hart Strong” shirt, which she says symbolizes the strength of the family. The back of the shirt says Ty won’t be forgotten. “He is going to stay on and live on because he will be here in our community,” said Brant.