Life of fallen Gallatin marine lives on in son he never met

(Courtesy: Tyler Overstreet's family)

GALLATIN, Tenn. (WKRN) – Step by step, one moment at a time, is how Misty McQuery approaches each day.

“It all comes right back,” she said. “He always wanted to do (right) for anybody. It didn’t matter if you did for him, he still wanted to be there for everybody, and he was.”

Lance Corporal, U.S. Marine, Tyler Overstreet is buried at Crestview Memory Gardens in Gallatin. It’s where Overstreet’s son Ashton visits his dad, a man he never met but is often reminded of the resemblance he carries.

(Courtesy: Tyler Overstreet’s family)

“It makes me feel good,” said Ashton. “It kind of reminds them of my dad every time they look at me.”

“The way he talks, the way he acts, everything about him is exactly like his father,” McQuery said.

McQuery, Ashton’s mom, grew up with Overstreet. She’s been without him since 2006.

Overstreet was killed in Iraq just weeks into a tour. Their loss is felt by an entire community in Gallatin where the marine is memorialized along a bridge on Highway 386.

And not far down the road is Overstreet’s mother’s business.

“It makes me close to him,” said Jana Rigsby.

Overstreet’s pictures and honors are on full display, 11 years after his death.

He died on a Monday in Fallujah. His Hummer was destroyed by an IED. Overstreet was 22, and he had just talked to his mom the Friday before.

(Courtesy: Tyler Overstreet’s family)

She remembers what she told him.

“I just want you to know I love you, and I’m extremely proud of what you’ve done,” Rigsby recalled.

She also remembers when two marines knocked on her door.

“I just went numb, I couldn’t feel anything,” she told News 2.

Rigsby says her son did not die instantly but knew it was coming.

“The thought he died in that dirty road, and it is dirty, it’s like I just stop breathing because I don’t like the way he died, but I can’t change it,” Rigsby said.

She doesn’t cry. She says if she started she wouldn’t stop. Rigsby instead focuses on what Overstreet told her–to celebrate his life, his love for country and family, and his sacrifice.

(Courtesy: Tyler Overstreet’s family)

“He loved what he did, he loved life, loved his family. If he walked through that door he would say I wouldn’t change a thing,” said Rigsby. “I’m extremely proud of him and proud of what he did.”

Tyler Ray Overstreet volunteered to defend his country. He did it to assure freedom in all seasons of life.

He had 10-year-old Ashton in mind. His son knows that about his dad.

“I’m proud of him because when he was a kid he wanted to be a marine, so when he got older he joined,” said Ashton.

Ashton’s understanding will only grow with age, as will Overstreet’s legacy of bravery and courage. He’s a U.S. Marine and a hero of Tennessee.