Girlfriend Of Hero Oklahoma Marine: 'It Was So Hard To Say Goodbye'
TULSA, Oklahoma - A Marine's girlfriend helped us get to know the hero she lost. Austin Anderson was one of four people killed last Friday, when the small plane he was on crashed in Chanute, Kansas.
Elizabeth Thaxton was supposed to be on that plane, but decided to drive instead.
She said a part of her wishes she'd been on that ill-fated flight to help her friends and the love of her life.
"He told me I was going to give him his number when we met. I said, ‘why would I do that?' He said, ‘so we can communicate,'" Elizabeth said.
Austin Anderson and Elizabeth Thaxton started dating her freshman year at ORU. The young couple with the promising future planned to marry next August.
"We have been together since the day we met," Elizabeth said. "It has been the best time of my life with him."
And what was supposed to be a brief goodbye ended tragically when the plane Austin was a passenger in crashed.
Austin was riding in the back of the plane with Hannah Luce. They were the only two that survived the impact.
"I waited for four hours," Elizabeth said. "I didn't hear anything from anybody. I didn't get any calls from anybody and I didn't know what was going on."
Elizabeth rushed to a Kansas hospital to be at Austin's bedside.
"It was hard, because it didn't look like him," she said.
That night - with a broken heart - she knew was the long goodbye.
"It was so hard to say goodbye," she said. "I kept leaving the room, went back in the room. All I could tell him was how proud I was of him that I loved him so much, and I was so sorry this happened to him."
Elizabeth says Austin lived with purpose. She says the former Marine set out to graduate from ORU because he promised his father he would. Austin graduated from ORU one week prior to his death.
Although Austin was badly burned in the crash, he carried Hannah from the wreckage. She is the only survivor.
Family and friends say he's a hero, but Elizabeth says Austin has always been, and will always be her hero.
"It's moments like that where true character is really revealed," she said. "That's who he was."
Elizabeth says Austin loved movies and his favorite quote is from Braveheart - "Everyman dies but not every man truly lives." She says Austin "lived."
HIs funeral is this Wednesday afternoon at 2 p.m. at Emanuel Baptist Church in Enid.