Family remembers Jackson Air Force officer - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Family remembers Jackson Air Force officer

JACKSON, MO (KFVS) -

Family members remember Maj. Garrett Knowlan.

The 32-year-old Jackson native died during a training exercise with the United States Air Force October 11.

Friends and family say it's hard to put into words the impact Maj. Knowlan had on those who knew him. His father remembers an energetic, smiling little boy who grew into a man of honor. His family says they are determined to give their oldest son a lasting legacy through spreading his platform on faith and family.

"He cherished his family and we cherished him," said Jack Knowlan, Maj. Knowlan's father.

Knowlan says in ninth grade, his son decided he wanted to serve his country and set his sights on the Air Force.

At the Academy, Maj. Knowlan excelled. Colonels and Generals later told his father the officer won't be easily replaced.

"He died serving his country," said Knowlan. "That is what he wanted to do and we are really proud to be his parents."

A few weeks ago Maj. Knowlan left Eglin Air Force base for training in Pensacola.

During a course in how to survive in open water after parachuting, his father says something went wrong.

"Recently they did release that he had been hit by a boat; we don't know what kind of boat," said Knowlan.

While his family says their hearts are broken, they take comfort believing Garrett is in heaven.

Jack Knowlan describes his son as an incredible man of faith who shared that testimony every chance he got.

In fact, Maj. Knowlan's wife recently found a Bible that had been missing for a year.

Among verses he had underlined, one from Philippians that reads: "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

"He was constantly witnessing to people," said Knowlan. "We found some solace in that there was something bigger going on than is just losing out son. We believe the turnout and the response we have gotten indicates Garrett's life and death has been bigger than we imagined."

Jack Knowlan says his son made the most of every second, getting more out of 32 years than some do in a lifetime. He says now the family will raise Maj. Knowlan's boys with the hope they will be just like their father: a man of courage, strength, and eternal love.

"We know where Garrett is and he's had a big influence on people that we will never even know about," said Jack Knowlan.

Knowlan says his son was an amazing father to his little boys, Beckett and Levi. He says he would do anything for his wife, and sons.

A memorial fund has been established to provide assistance to Garrett's wife, Meg, and their two boys, Beckett and Levi. Donations should be made payable to the "Knowlan Family Memorial Fund" and mailed to the Knowlan Family Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 363, Jackson, Mo., 63755.

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