Skip to comments.More than a soldier
Posted on 07/16/2008 5:36:42 AM PDT by Tennessee_Bob
LAKE CITY - Spc. Jason Dean Hovater was much more than a soldier stationed in an outpost in Afghanistan near the Pakistan border.
"He was a brother and a son and a husband,'' said Hovater's sister, Jessica Davis of Norris.
"Most of all, he was a man of God. He was a light to other people around him."
Hovater, a Clinton resident, was one of nine soldiers killed last weekend in the deadliest assault in Afghanistan against the U.S. military in three years.
Some 200 militants with machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars attacked the outpost but were beaten back after a fierce firefight that lasted hours.
Hovater, with the Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade, would have been 25 years old Aug. 10.
He had been in Afghanistan for 16 months, Davis said.
"He only had a week left before he was leaving (Afghanistan)," she said. "We were all excited to see him and be with him and hold him."
Hovater leaves his wife of 19 months, Jenna Hovater of Anderson County. They only had six weeks together before Hovater was deployed.
He was the son of Gerald and Kathy Hovater of Lake City and one of their four children.
It's a close-knit, highly religious family. All have musical talents. The parents have written and published compact discs of spiritual songs that feature their other sons, Joe, 23, of Oak Ridge on drums and Jesse, 21, of Lake City on guitar. Jason Hovater was an accomplished keyboard player.
The parents learned of their son's death when Army officers knocked on the door of their home at 2 a.m. Monday, Jessica Davis said. They are devastated by the loss, she said.
Jason Hovater enlisted in the Army both out of a sense of duty and because "he wanted to have some discipline in his life," she said.
"He was dedicated to it, and he believed in it," Davis said. "He said he wanted to be a part of it.
"He was just an unbelievable soldier while he was there, but he just wanted to come home."
"All his friends in the Army would say, 'Hovater, why are you even here?' because he was so different," Davis said.
"While he was going through all these horrible things that we can't comprehend, his faith sustained him," she said. "While he was in the Army, he realized his true calling was to be a worship leader."
Jason Hovater was a church leader who had taken missionary trips in recent years, one to Russia and the other to Guatemala.
He grew up in Lake City and began attending New Covenant Fellowship in Knoxville when he turned 18.
"He certainly was a hero to us," said church administrator Vickie Petitt. "It's a real deep loss for our church."
After news of the Anderson County native's death reached county officials, the flag in front of the courthouse was lowered to half-staff.
It's uncertain when funeral services will be conducted. The family hasn't been told when the body will be returned to the United States, Davis said.
Staff writer J.J. Stambaugh contributed to this report. Bob Fowler may be reached at 865-481-3625.
God Bless You, Specialist Hovater.
Prayers go out to his family and friends; that they have the strength they will need to deal with their loss.
May God bless you Specialist Hovater.
Prayers en route for the family and his friends.
May we do our part each and every day to deserve our freedoms that so many have died for.
May we never cease to ensure that we elect leaders who recognize and deserve the sacrifices our young men and women make every day in our military.