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Mynatt Funeral Home transports Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss to Arlington National Cemetery

SSG Knauss, a Knoxville native and Gibbs High School graduate, was one of 13 United States servicemembers to die in the Kabul airport bombing last month.
Published: Sep. 18, 2021 at 4:21 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 18, 2021 at 7:47 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Mynatt Funeral Home transported the body of Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss Thursday. SSG Knauss, a Knoxville native and Gibbs High School graduate, was one of 13 United States servicemembers to die in the Kabul airport bombing last month.

Spokespersons with the funeral home said they felt grateful to be able to help the soldier who served his country in Afghanistan. Funeral director Time Wheeler drove the hearse from Tennessee to the cemetery.

“At times we had chill bumps all over us because the whole left side of the interstate had come to a standstill. Kids, adults, service members standing in salute as that hearse road by,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler, Buddy and Katie Coomer, Robert Rutherford and Angie Ferguson all helped with the transport and all have family in the military.

“It reminded me of my dad who was in service. He could have been in the same situation,” Buddy Coomer said.

“My husband is in the military, I’ve been that wife that stressed and worries, ‘when am I going to get my next phone call,” said Ferguson.

Wheeler will be eligible for a reimbursement for the service, but offered to do it for free.

“We were going to do it for free because he gave his life for us. We spent the night with his body at our chapel in Halls, just to make sure nothing happened to his body, politically wise, that first night, I stayed myself. I thought a lot about that. I left the funeral home that morning, the sunshine was brighter that day. It just made me appreciate things a lot more,” said Buddy Coomer.

The Knauss family held a public memorial service on Saturday, Sept. 11. SSG Knauss will be buried on Sept. 21.

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