Soldiers surprise Utah man too sick to join military
TREMONTON — It usually takes quite a bit of planning to put together a military mission, but a group of soldiers in Northern Utah had less than a day to prepare for Friday’s important and uplifting mission.
“Every month, we get together to be able to do all sorts of different training exercises,” said Staff Sgt. Landon Ochsenbein with the U.S. Army.
The meeting location for this mission was outside the Tremonton Chevron gas station, at 9 a.m. sharp.
About 25 soldiers in green-brown camouflage spent a few minutes going over the plans.
“So you guys will be on the west side, right?” asked Ochsenbein to a small group of soldiers.
After about 30 minutes, the soldiers got into four Humvees and took off down Highway 102, west toward Bothwell.
“I’m glad we were able to get a lot of people,” said Ochsenbein.
That’s because this mission was different. They weren’t going to a military base or some far off location in the middle of nowhere. Instead, about 10 minutes later, the convoy pulled up to an older white house that looked similar to many others in the neighborhood. And it was all for someone who didn’t even know they were coming.
“These are the best missions in my opinion,” said Ochsenbein. “These are the ones we’re able to go and really support the community and be able to help them.”
It’s not every day you see soldiers in formation lined up outside a house.
It’s also not every day you see this kind of reaction from the person they were all there to see.
Talan Summers, 26, pushed by his parents in his wheelchair, was all tears as he looked out to his front yard and saw all the soldiers who were there for him.
“It’s definitely one of those things that hits you right in the heart,” said Ochsenbein.
Summers always wanted to be in the military. However, because of a rare disease where his muscles harden and he’s constantly in pain, he couldn’t join.
So, the military came to him.
“It’s pretty amazing to see people come together for you. I appreciate it,” said Talan.
The soldiers brought him flags and hope. One woman even sang the national anthem. Then, a soldier gave a speech talking about who real heroes are and pointed at Talan.
“I can’t even talk about it without crying,” said Stan Summers, who is Talan’s father. “We thought he was just getting a flag from a soldier. That was his wish. And the next thing we knew, all this happened. I don’t even know how humble you can say you are.”
Stan Summers said the military has always been special to his son.
“He wanted to be a sniper. And he was pretty good at it before he got sick,” said Stan Summers. “He has pictures of these guys on his wall. It’s not football or basketball players or anything like that. It’s these guys’ pictures.”
Now, Talan has pictures of himself with soldiers.
They posed with him in his wheelchair, then signed a picture of the flag he was given when it was used during a military parachute jump.
“That’s the first smile I’ve seen on his face in six months,” said Stan Summers, laughing through his tears.
For just a few minutes on another ordinary day, Talan saw something that, to him, was extraordinary.
It was enough to last a lifetime.
“I’m just overwhelmed,” said Talan. “This world can be a bad place and they make it better.”
Related: One Wish Cache Valley
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