Daughter of fallen soldier preserves father's memory
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Mayfield Park will forever be a part of 13-year-old Nadia Hansen's life.
Nadia and her father, U.S. Sgt. John Hansen
Trees in the West Austin park provide shade from the Texas sun, and peacocks walk the grounds. It was in Mayfield Park where Nadia was told that her father, U.S. Army Sgt. John Hansen, was killed in Afghanistan.
The teen is now on a mission to make sure her father’s memory lives.
"He was just a funny, carefree kind of guy. He was always the one to like, make a joke, and if you were down, he would cheer you up," Nadia said.
Sgt. Hansen's funeral was out of state. On the day Nadia was set to fly out, a bomb threat at ABIA canceled her flight. She missed her father’s funeral.
"Getting angry and getting upset isn't going to do anything," Nadia said.
U.S. Sgt. John Hansen
Instead, Nadia got creative. She thought back to the park where she first heard of her father’s death.
She’s now busy raising money for a memorial bench in Mayfield Park.
"My dad was a simple guy, so I don't want it to be too over-the-top or extravagant," Nadia said. "Just a simple, concrete bench with a little plaque."
But she wants the memorial to tell more than just the story of her own family.
"I hope it helps a lot of widows and soldiers and ex-soldiers kind of cope and pay their respects," she said.
It’s a project Nadia hopes will give closure to those who have suffered the loss of a loved one.
“I sometimes wonder if she was put on earth to teach me," Nadia’s mother Natasha Mulkey said. "She just has this resolve that I haven't seen even in adults. I can't wait to see what kind of adult she turns out to be."
In just more than a week, Nadia has raised more than $900 dollars for the memorial bench. Click here to learn how to help.