Jonathan Blunk's Body Returns to Reno

By: Denise Wong
By: Denise Wong

Exactly one week after Jonathan Blunk's wife learned he was one of the 12 people killed in the Colorado movie theater shooting, his body returns back home to Reno.

26-year-old Jonathan Blunk grew up in Reno and his family still lives in the area, including his wife, Chantel, and their two young children: Hailey, 4, and Maximus, 2.

On Friday afternoon, a flag-draped casket carrying the body of the Navy veteran left Aurora, Colorado. His friends paid their respects as a procession led the young father's body to the Denver airport where it was flown home to Reno.

That plane landed at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport just after 7pm on Friday. And with loved ones watching and waiting, he got the military escort his family says he would have wanted.

The Patriot Guard and Color Guard were at the airport waiting. Many of them didn't even know Jonathan Blunk, but said they wanted to show their respect and support for his family.

When the plane touched down, a hearse carrying the casket and a limo carrying Jonathan's family drove to the Mountain View Mortuary. With American flags waving in the wind, dozens of Patriot Guard members followed behind to escort them. Jonathan Blunk had served in the Navy from 2004 until 2009. A spokesperson for the family says they're touched by how supportive the community has been.

"I mean, they're coming out and helping in every way possible. I mean, as far as getting Chantel back to Denver to bring her husband home and taking care of the funeral - and it's coming out of everywhere," says Kim Young, a family friend and spokesperson for the Blunk family.

Outside the mortuary, Jonathan's younger brother clutched an American flag close to his chest as he was comforted by family.
This was the kind of ceremony Jonathan's wife had wanted for the man she met ten years ago when they were students at Hug High.
Seeing all of this come together, thanks to the generosity of friends and strangers, made the family very emotional.

A memorial service that's open to the public will take place next Thursday at the Mountain View Mortuary from 1pm until 5pm. On the next day, the family will hold a private service for Jonathan and give him a proper military burial.

If you would like to donate to the Blunk family, you can do so at any Wells Fargo Bank under the Bring Johnny Home Fund. Donations will go toward the military burial. The account number is 8966815063.

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