EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - For the first time, we heard from the family of the Army Specialist from Evansville who died in a training accident in the state of Washington.
“Drew deserves a much higher importance in trying to get him home, and we just don’t feel like that’s been shown to us by the army. Even though they’ve expressed it in certain situations, I don’t think the follow through was there or the commitment," said Drew’s mother Karen Watters.
Delays in bringing Drew home have his family still working to make funeral arrangements. It has been an incredibly difficult and overwhelming time for the Watters family.
Thursday, they were disappointed to learn Drew’s transfer was set for Tuesday. They called local legislators for help in expediting Drew’s homecoming.
“I don’t think Fort Lewis has a lot of experience with this either. It’s maybe shown a little bit. It’s a very difficult situation for them as well. We try to recognize that, and we try to be patient, but we lost our patience yesterday when they said Tuesday. We said that’s just not going to work,” said Drew’s father Scott Watters.
“Drew’s death was needless from what we understand,” said Karen. “He loved the Army. He never ever regretted going into it.”
Drew joined the Army as a sophomore in college. It was a shock to his family at the time, but understandable given his personality.
“He definitely had a vision and he wanted to do it. He’s completely unafraid. And he understood the consequences that existed,” said Scott.
Drew’s family understood the risk too, but say they never imagined he would be taken from them in a training accident.
“He was hit by a striker which is a large armored vehicle. It’s like a tank. Basically he was pinned under that,” said Scott.
Scott described that phone call as the worst moment of his life. Now, they are jumping through hoops to make Drew’s funeral arrangements.
“They originally wanted to have Drew come home Tuesday, and we just felt that was way beyond acceptable,” said Scott.
Their sole request is to bring Drew home on the same flight as his wife Carley and 2-month-old son Jack. Carley tells us she feels so blessed to have Jack as a piece of Drew she will keep with her forever.
“He accomplished a lot in his short life and left a lot of friends on this earth who are tremendously missing him along with his family,” said Karen.
Late Saturday, an escort will stop at North High School’s football stadium parking lot for a meeting with friends, according to ISP.
According to Browning Funeral Home, the funeral for Spc. Watters will be at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, November 14 at Christian Fellowship Church on Millersburg Road. Visitation will be held Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and on Wednesday from noon to 2 p.m.
Drew’s family is holding out hope that they’ll be able to welcome Drew home to the Evansville airport sooner than Saturday night.