NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s the club no one wants to join. Gold Star parents are those who have lost a child who serves in the military.
Williamson County Gold Star mom Joyce Mount is keeping her son’s memory alive. She carries laminated photos of her son Judson in her purse.
Joyce grew up in a military family. Her father served for 20 years in the Air Force, and Judson grew up hearing his grandfather’s stories, and always wanted to serve. Jud joined the Army as soon as he graduated.
“I thought it was good he wanted to serve his country, and he really did. He got out for seven years and then got back in when Iraq started up and he said he was getting back in to go to Iraq,” Joyce said.
Warrant Officer Judson E. Mount took his second deployment, a volunteer mission, to help train the Iraqi’s and make them more self-sufficient. Joyce says a routine convey to Iraq to check on their progress, went terribly wrong.
“He was in the first vehicle, and there was an IED, and they detonated it with a cell phone. It came right through the Humvee, right by his head. It killed the soldier in front of him. It knocked Jud into the air 50 feet and when he landed, he had a concussion and collapsed lung, and it went through both arms, the shrapnel, cut him in the eye and in the shoulder. He thought his arms were cut off because he was bleeding so bad and couldn’t see,” his mother explained.
Jud was evacuated to Baghdad, Germany, and then San Antonio, Texas, where he underwent 13 surgeries in five months. On April 7, 2009, at the age of 37, he succumbed to his injuries.
“Everybody that knew Jud knew he was the funniest guy, he always lit the room up. He was the funniest guy in the world. All gave some and some gave all. He was just the best hero ever. He wanted to do what he was doing, and when he died, I knew at least he was doing what he wanted to. Most people don’t get that chance,” Joyce said.
Because of her military background, Joyce had always attended Memorial Day ceremonies in downtown Franklin. Now, eight years after she lost her son, she says it’s one of the most emotional days of the year for her.
“I never dreamed that his brick would be one here in the circle. I just never dreamed that would happen. He was a hero. He wanted to go and fight for his country and that’s what he did and so that’s how he died. Fighting for his country and he was a hero. I want people to remember that,” she said.
Jud’s family stayed at the Fisher House during his 13 surgeries, which is just like the Ronald McDonald House, but for veterans and their families.
Joyce continues to help raise money for the organization.
For more information on how to support The Fisher House, visit their website.