A Phoenix firefighter and U.S. Army veteran will be laid to rest next week.
Juston Doherty was working at the Arizona Army National Guard Base when he was found dead.
But in the past couple of days another side of the story has surfaced. Doherty’s stepson, who deployed with the Navy, was repeatedly denied leave because Doherty was not listed as next of kin in his paperwork.
“We are just so happy people continued to push even when we didn’t know,” Marissa Whitmire said.
Colton Whitmire’s wife Marissa is talking about the overwhelming community support their family received following the tragic loss of Phoenix firefighter Juston Doherty.
“It’s bittersweet as I keep saying,” Marissa said.
The family took the issue to Arizona lawmakers early this week.
“At that point we were all really heartbroken like no we can’t take 'No" for an answer,” Marissa Whitmire said.
But the family kept getting a "No" from the Navy.
“Policy is policy Juston is not on his page two, sorry we can’t grant you emergency leave,” Marissa said talking about the answer they kept getting from the Navy.
But the push to get Colton home kept growing. Finally the Navy said it was OK for Colton to leave, but on his own expense.
“We were happy taking personal leave, but to our representatives that wasn’t enough,” Marissa said.
On Thursday, the family received good news. The Navy would give Colton emergency leave.
And when Colton finally lands and walks through the gates at Phoenix Sky Harbor, something very heartwarming will happen: He'll see his newborn son Bodhi for the very first time.
The family said Colton seeing Bodhi will help with the heartache of losing Juston.