Soldiers surprise Utah man too sick to join military

Mar 9, 2018, 4:49 PM | Updated: 10:27 pm
Talan Summers poses with soldiers who gathered at his home....
Talan Summers poses with soldiers who gathered at his home.

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


Stan Summers and his son Talan. Soldiers establish formation outside the Summers home. Talan Summers poses with soldiers who gathered at his home. The American Flag flies in the Summers front yard. A soldier looks on during the flag folding ceremony. Soldiers hold flag folding ceremony outside the Summers Tremonton home. Soldiers gather to plan their mission Friday morning.
KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Eliza Pace

One dead in 4-vehicle crash; Highway 40 closed in both directions

A fatal crash involving four cars has closed U.S. Highway 40 in both directions.
14 hours ago
Gabby Petito...
Josh Ellis

New photo allegedly shows Gabby Petito’s injuries before interview with Moab PD

A newly released photograph appears to show injuries on Gabby Petito's face shortly before she met with officers from the Moab Police Department.
14 hours ago
Residents of the town of Enoch come together in honor of Gail Earl and the Haight Family at a vigil...
Pat Reavy

Chilling search history on Enoch father’s phone: ‘Can neighbors hear gunshots?’

As police continue to piece together how the tragic murders of an Enoch family unfolded, newly released information continues to suggest that the killings were premeditated.
14 hours ago
Real estate firm Brixton Capital announced Monday that a new Target will occupy the former Dillard'...
Cassidy Wixom

Provo will soon be welcoming its 1st full-size Target store

Residents of Provo will soon have another retail therapy resource at their disposal: a brand-new Target.
14 hours ago
Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

Shopping for Valentine’s roses? 9 comparisons to help you find the biggest bang for your buck

From online and local florist delivery options to grocery store blooms, KSL’s Matt Gephardt compares the cost and durability of nine different bouquets of a dozen red roses.
2 days ago
Ashley Moser

West Jordan mother in the ICU after being hit by snowmobile while tubing

A Utah mother is recovering in the ICU after she was hit by a snowmobile while tubing over the weekend.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Soldiers surprise Utah man too sick to join military