Kristy Pack Taylor family

Kristy Pack, Brent Taylor's sister-in-law, discusses how the Taylor family is managing following the death of Taylor, a major in the Utah Army National Guard, in Afghanistan on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018. She's the sister of Jennie Taylor, Brent Taylor's wife, and spoke Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, outside her sister and brother-in-law's North Ogden home. Behind her are North Ogden City Attorney Jon Call, left, and North Ogden City Councilman Phillip Swanson, partially hidden.

NORTH OGDEN — The outpouring following Brent Taylor's death in Afghanistan has been incredible, says his sister-in-law, Kristy Pack.

It's one of the things that's helping the family through the tragedy.

"It's the cliché things that really make a difference, people's prayers and support," Pack said Sunday, addressing the media from the yard outside Taylor's North Ogden home. "Just seeing the flags that people have put out and the kind words that have been written on social media — those are small things, but they make a big difference."

Brent Taylor, a major in the Utah Army National Guard who had served as North Ogden mayor, died Saturday while on a deployment to Afghanistan, apparently after an Afghani soldier in his contingent unexpectedly turned on him and attacked him. The turn of events left many reeling, and Gov. Gary Herbert on Sunday praised Taylor's service while many more turned to social media to offer supportive words.

Pack, the sister of Brent Taylor's wife, Jennie Taylor, offered thanks for the outpouring. His death is hitting the family hard.

"Heartbreaking doesn't describe it. I don't think any of us in a million years really thought ... that Brent wouldn't be coming home. He is such an inspirational figure and, to me, just such an inspired person," she said. Brent Taylor was nearing the end of his year-long deployment, the fourth of his National Guard career, and he planned to resume his mayoral duties on returning to North Ogden.

But seeing in his death how his life positively impacted others helps ease the pain, even for his seven children, aged 13 years to 11 months, cause of particular concern. Family is asking for donations to help Jennie Taylor raise the kids, and as of Sunday evening, three GoFundMe pages between them had generated more than $195,000 in donations, one of them accounting for most of that.

"It's going to be a big struggle for all of them. We've just been so grateful for the friends and the neighbors and the teachers and the church leaders and the complete strangers. The people who have just visited and sent things and written things and donated money," Pack said, surrounded by North Ogden leaders, the yard filled with U.S. flags and an oversized yellow ribbon.

At the same time, Pack said her sister and Brent Taylor knew the risks of serving and accepted it.

"She has very strong feelings about this. She knew what she was signing up for. All of their decisions as a couple were very thoughtful and very intentional, in him going on this tour, in every deployment that he had," she said. Brent Taylor had already deployed twice before to Iraq and once to Afghanistan before returning to the country last January, part of a mission to train the Afghani army and help bolster the ability of Afghanis to govern and control their nation.

Indeed, his death leaves pain. But his life meant something.

"It's like Jennie said, there's heartache but not regret," Pack said. "When a man like Brent has the desire to bring freedom to others and to serve his country and he gives his life to that cause — in our view there's not a whole lot of room for anger. We're so proud of the way he lived, we're proud of the way he gave his life. And we are overwhelmed with heartache but not regret."

Brent Taylor's remains are to arrive in the United States at Dover Air Force Base on Monday and funeral arrangements have yet to be made. Family are asking those willing to help to donate to the Taylor Family Charitable Account at America First Credit Union or at www.gofundme.com/mayor-brent-taylor.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.

(2) comments

michael kittle

This is an enormous tragedy for Brent Taylor’s family, particularly his seven children. Taylor’s friends and the governor of Utah tried to dissuade him from going on another deployment.

So many young Americans place their faith in the president when he sends them in harms way to another ill advised war. America’s war in Afghanistan is the longest in our country’s history with no end in sight.

As a young man, I refused to fight another unnecessary war in Vietnam. Instead I pursued a career as a clinical psychologist and rehabilitation counselor. The thirty years I spent assisting soldiers and veterans who had been disabled in the American war in Vietnam Nam convinced me that I could no longer respect my government or politicians with the lives of the citizens.

Upon retiring in 2000 I became an expatriate with the one country who spoke out most vehemently against the Bush war in Iraq. For the last eighteen years I have supported my adopted country in its effort to provide a safe life for its citizens.

I hope Major Taylor’s death provides an inspiration for other young men and women in America to question their president carefully before agreeing to fight in any more foreign wars!

repneilhansen

My heart and prayers go out to this great family. What a great example of service than that of a man that lies down his life for another. This shows us all of what great love he had for his country, his family and his faith in God. I pray that any suffering and pain that his family may have, will be lifted by the love of our great community and that, of our faith in God that can lift those burdens. May our Father in Heaven's choicest blessing go to the family at their time of grief.

Neil Hansen

P.S. When I think about all of the great men and women that have given their all. It reminds me of this one great quote.

The blood of free men stains my ballot sheet. Whatever others may do, I
shall not carelessly make my mark. I vote not because I can, but because I must. Those who died for this, my voice in my Government, had a right to expect that I would use it wisely, honestly, and courageously. They did not die that blind partisans, or the reckless, might make a game of free elections. I carefully study the issues and candidates to determine not what is best for me, but for my country.
I vote as if my ballot alone decided the contest. I may lose my preference, but I will not throw away my sacred vote. For within the booth I hold in my humble hand the living proxy of all my country's honored dead.
---------Author unknown

With the election on Tuesday the 6th. Lets not let down our honored dead by not voting.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.