Pfc. Johnathon Davis, 20: Family, faith foremost for Griffin soldier

Life loomed large for Pfc. Johnathon Davis.

Pfc. Davis had hopes of a future as an EMT. Like his brother, he was serving his country. His high school sweetheart -- who he'd married less than two years before -- was expecting their first child.

But life was cut short. Pfc. Johnathon Frank Davis of Griffin died March 29 of wounds suffered from "enemy small arms fire," according to the Department of Defense. He was 20.

Visitation will be 3 to 5 p.m., and 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at Conner-Westbury Funeral Home in Griffin. A funeral service will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at First Assembly of God in Griffin.

Pfc. Davis was born in Riverdale and attended Griffin High School, where he played soccer -- and met Kristen, his future wife. Family spokesman Randy Valimont, pastor of First Assembly of God said: "John and his wife used to come over when they were dating. He was at our house about a week before he left for Afghanistan. He was just a wonderful kid."

Rev. Valimont said Pfc. Davis, who he'd known for about 13 years, was a member of the church's Evolve youth ministry.

"He carried his Bible everywhere he went, and it was with him when he died," Rev. Valimont said. While Pfc. Davis's faith was firm, he also knew how to have fun.

"He might be the guy flicking someone's ear," recalled the pastor. "But there was never anything too serious."

Griffin High School Athletic Director and Assistant Principal Jamie Cassady knew Pfc. Davis as "a good kid. He was always smiling. When I heard the news of his passing, that's the first thing I remembered about him."

Jessica DeVoursney taught Pfc. Davis and his girlfriend as seniors at Griffin High School.

"That was my first class of seniors," she said. "So they were pretty special to me. He had the biggest heart of anyone I know," she added. "His friends adored him, because he adored them."

She said Pfc. Davis visited the school before he deployed in February 2012, and they talked about the baby he and Kristen were expecting.

"We talked about the baby coming, and how excited he was for the baby to get here. He joked about the baby playing soccer, too. He was so full of life."

Behind that smile was a sense of purpose -- and enlisting, a path to that purpose. After deployment, Rev. Valimont said, Pfc. Davis wanted to "serve people as an EMT." Stationed in Afghanistan, Pfc. Davis was assigned to the 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

Rev. Valimont said Pfc. Davis, trained as a scout, was in a group of soldiers sweeping an area when he was wounded.

"He was doing what he was supposed to be doing -- protecting others -- when he was killed," Rev. Valimont said.

First Assembly of God will host the program "God's Plan: Redeemed" through Sunday. The Friday 7 p.m. service will honor Pfc. Davis, and will include a video tribute.

In addition to his wife, Kristen, survivors also include his parents, Kerry and Tracey Davis of Griffin; and four brothers, U.S. Navy Seaman Kenneth Davis of Norfolk, Va., and Steven Davis, Timothy Davis and Luke Davis, all of Griffin.