KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A Knoxville soldier who died in an accidental shooting will be laid to rest this weekend.
John Hargreaves was killed last week while stationed at the Fort Carson Army Installation in Colorado Springs.
His death has touched many in his home community, especially Karns.
Mary Hargreaves says John was living his dream in the army, and the support from his fellow soldiers is what's keeping her going. But she has no idea how she'll react once John, her only son, is buried.
"A platoon Sergeant told me he was just the epitome of a soldier," said Mary.
She's is staying positive by remembering John's smile, and his knack for keeping people, even school teachers, laughing for 21 years.
"They'd (his teachers) go, 'Oh he's the cutest thing. He just keeps our class in stitches all the time.' You couldn't not like him," said Mary.
John Hargreaves was loyal to his friends, a little mischievous, and fun-loving. An example of that is the story he told his mom a couple of weeks ago when he found a group of homeless people near his base.
"And they were begging for money. And one of the guys brought out a guitar, and John sang and danced. And he said, 'Mom I got so much money for those guys. You should've seen everybody coming by and throwing money in the cup,'" said Mary.
But one thing he always took seriously was his passion for the military.
"Since he was three or four years old, he used to bring me a pencil and a notebook. He would say, 'Sit down mom. I'm going to tell you a story, you write it.' And he would dictate me stories about John the army man," said Mary.
He was 18 when he enlisted, served one tour in Afghanistan, and rose through the ranks quickly. But to Mary, he was more than a friend and a soldier. He was her son.
"He took care of me, and we were best friends. I'm gonna miss him. We were just best friends," said Mary.
The visitation for John Hargreaves will be on Friday from 6:00 until 8:00 at the Weavers Funeral Home.
His funeral will be on Saturday at 11:00, followed by a full military burial at Oak Ridge Memorial Park.
The flag at Karns High School, where John played football, will be at half-staff until sundown on Saturday. There will also be a candlelight vigil that night at 8:30.
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