SIGNAL MOUNTAIN, HAMILTON COUNTY (WRCB)  --  Decades after Leo Brown Sr. risked his life to serve our country, the Navy veteran was honored at a special Veterans Day ceremony in Red Bank on Sunday.

It was only the second time he had been honored as a WWII veteran. Sadly, it was the last time his fellow comrades and many members of his family saw him alive.

"I really loved him," says his son, Leo Brown Jr. 

Only minutes after Leo and his wife Mary left the church, he collided head on with a pick up truck in the 900 block on Mountain Creek Road.  

"He said, 'son I'm really proud of you' and I said 'Dad, I'm really proud of you too', and we hugged. We hugged and he drove away and less than five minutes later my mom called me from inside the car and said we've had a bad accident on Mountain Creek Road and we're hurt," explains Brown.

Brown rushed to the scene of the accident and watched as crews used the jaws of life to save his parents.

"I said, 'we're going to meet you at Erlanger', he said, 'great'," Brown says. "That's the last thing he said."

Leo passed away about an hour later at a local hospital.  

At Leo's former hardware business on Signal Mountain, those who knew him remember his generosity.

"Soon as you walked into the door of the store, you didn't get five or ten feet but here come Leo with a big smile on his face saying, 'hey how are you today and what can I do for you'" says Meryn Mann, one of Leo's close friends.

"You found a place for not only fellowship but friendship," friend, Charles Clemons says. "He was a friend to everyone."

However, to Brown Jr. he was everything.

"All of us should aspire to be the man he was," says Brown. "It's comforting to know he's there and he's just waiting for us."

Family members tell Channel 3 Leo's wife, Mary is in critical condition at Erlanger.

Caitlin Davis, the 23-year-old driving the truck, was also taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries.

Chattanooga Police Sergeant Jerri says charges against Davis are pending the outcome of the investigation.