Community Remembers a Leader in Knox

By Max Resnik

May 29, 2012 Updated May 29, 2012 at 6:28 PM EDT

AUBURN, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – One day after Memorial Day, the Auburn community came together to say a final goodbye to a soldier they lost in battle.

Sgt. JaBraun Knox was laid to rest Tuesday afternoon at Highland Park Cemetery in Fort Wayne. Prior to his burial, Knox’s funeral service was held at the National Military History Center in Auburn.

An aisle of American flags created by members of the Indiana Patriot Guard served as the pathway for Auburn residents, friends and family members to say goodbye to Knox. One of those saying goodbye to Knox was Tayler Brandenburg. Brandenburg attended high school with Knox and played football with him. Brandenburg describes Knox as a leader not only in the classroom and on the field but as a member of the Auburn community.

“He was really looked up to. He was one of those guys who was always respected. I mean we grew up together. He was one of those guys I looked up to.”

Dave Casper, whose son played football and baseball with Knox and is a close friend of the Beerbowers, said Knox had the qualities any parent would want in a child.

“He was one of the nicest young men you'd ever meet. He was real outgoing, a very polite young man but very energetic. He was just a super kid. He is going to be missed.”

Kim Nusbaum, who works with Knox’s mother, Kelly, said that through Knox’s tragic death, a community has come together.

“It just shows how small we are when we all come together like this and how much bigger it gets. I hope they can feel our hugs from every corner of our county.”

In addition to friends and family, two women in Tuesday’s crowd arrived at the National Military History Center because they currently have husbands serving overseas. Amber Schoff and Elizabeth Payton, whose husbands are in the 381st Military Police Company, say they want Courtney Beerbower, Knox’s widow, to understand that military wives are in the area and are ready to help.

“There’s a lot of wives in the area that can understand what she's going through—maybe not personally—we're all here to support her and she should just try to reach out to us and we can help her as much as we can,” said Schoof.

Knox was killed in action May 18 when enemy fire hit an area that was storing ammunition next to where he was stationed. He was a member of the 1st Battalion 377 Field Artillery Regiment. He is survived by his wife, Courtney Beerbower, and his 6-month-old son, Braylon.

Knox's loved ones ask that any donations be directed to a trust for Knox's son, Braylon, at PNC Bank in Auburn or the Wounded Warriors Project.

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