Dozens of service members attended the funeral of 5-year-old River “Oakley” Nimmo, according to CNN. The child, who dreamed of being an “Army Man” someday, died Thursday in Arkansas following a battle with neuroblastoma.
"Oakley spent most of this life, fighting to live and did it with a smile on his face," Nimmo’s obituary said. "In between hospital stays, Oakley spent his free time driving his power wheels and shooting his toy guns. He often talked of being an 'Army Man,' as he called it, when he grew up."
The obituary also said the family invited anyone who served or had served in the military to attend the funeral “in honor of Oakley’s dream to serve his country.” Nimmo’s mother Shelby said in a post on Facebook that her son died in her arms, and also shared photos of him in camo holding toy guns.
On Tuesday, dozens of men and women in uniform from Arkansas honored Nimmo’s life at his memorial service at the Cullendale First Baptist Church in Camden. The Arkansas National Guard also named him an “Honorary Colonel” with a duty title of “ARMY MAN," according to a Facebook post from the service.
The certificate authorizing the move was signed by the by Maj. Gen. Mark H. Berry, the adjutant general of the State of Arkansas, and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican.
“On behalf of the veterans here in Arkansas and the veterans of this country and in this community, we’re honored to be here for him,” David Cagle of the Arkansas Air National Guard said, according to local news station KFSM. “He’s always going to be our army man, our little soldier, angel.”
Cagle told Nimmo’s loved ones that he “can’t imagine the pain that you feel, but please know that the community here, also the state of Arkansas and the veterans all across the country will support you guys if you ever need anything.”
Nimmo is survived by both parents, Colton and Shelby, and his brother, Bear.