An East Tennessee family took a surprise phone call a few weeks ago with an invitation to come to the White House from a man set to become a member of America's most exclusive group of warriors.
"When I heard his voice it was just good. It reminded me of the good memories of Jason," recalled Jessica Davis Hovater.
The man on the other end of that call was Ryan Pitts who served with Jessica's brother Jason in the Army. Jason Hovater was killed six years ago during one of the bloodiest battles of the war in Afghanistan for U.S. troops.
The 24-year-old from Lake City was one of nine soldiers killed and 27 wounded during the battle of Wanat in Eastern Afghanistan in July 2008. For his actions that day, the Army awarded Jason its third highest award for valor in combat, the Silver Star, posthumously.
On Monday of this week, President Obama presented Staff Sergeant Pitts with the nation's highest military award, the Medal of Honor.
Mr. Pitts wanted the Hovater family to join him for the ceremony.
"He said that we deserved to be there. He said that is was a group effort that day and the ones that were fallen that day, those were the ones who the true heroes were and that he was just the keeper of the medal," said Jessica Davis Hovater just prior to leaving for the ceremony in Washington.
After the ceremony Ms. Davis wrote in part, "Our family thanks Ryan and Chosen Company for the love and honor we received from each. Words cannot express the love that we have to the soldiers of the Chosen few and the families of the eight fallen soldiers. I was a joy and privilege to join in honoring Ryan."