When you think of bikers, you probably don’t think of men and women banding together to support our troops. But that’s exactly what the Patriot Guard Riders do for fallen members of our military as well as their families.
Founded in 2005, their motto is “Standing For Those Who Stood For U.S.”
The group participates in various activities to honor military veterans. They help guard military funerals from harassment and other disruptions so family and friends can mourn in peace, they attend burials of homeless veterans whose deaths might otherwise go unrecognized, and they organize homecoming celebrations for troops returning from overseas.
They also came to the assistance of the family of a fallen Marine.
When retired Staff Sergeant Jonathan Turner, who served seven tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, died in 2015 from combat-related injuries his mother was unable to make the trip from Georgia to California to collect his remains.
In cases such as this, the ashes are often sent through the mail home to family.
When the Patriot Guard Riders heard that a Marine’s remains were going to arrive on his mother’s doorstep in a postal box, they decided to give him the final return he deserved.
The riders gathered volunteers to escort Sgt. Turner’s remains all the way across the country from California to his mother’s home in Georgia.
Jeff Goodiel of the Georgia Patriot Guard Riders told local news channel Fox 5:
“The California Patriot Guard Riders contacted all of the state captains from California to Georiga and explained the situation, that it wasn’t proper to ship this war hero home via FedEx.”
Within days, the Guard had assembled a huge convoy to transport Turner’s cremated remains home and hand deliver them to his mother.
The trip involved hundreds of volunteers for the roughly 2500-mile journey.
As Turner’s remains were passed off the to next group of riders, the group held a ceremony to pay their respects. (You can scroll down to see video from just one of the many hand-offs.)
It’s incredible to think about the deep respect that these men and women have for the military and the time they take out of their schedules to make sure our soldiers get the homecoming they’ve earned.
“I got on the road at 6 o’clock [Friday] night out of Huntsville, Alabama and I rode over to Oklahoma,” one volunteer told The Tribunist. “I need the family to know that you’re not alone and we care.”
And despite the time and resources involved in their mission, the Patriot Guard never charges families for their services, which are all volunteer.
According to their website “Our mission is done out of honor and respect, and there is never a charge or an expectation of payment.”
Turner’s mother Annie Glanton was deeply appreciative of their effort:
“It’s heartwarming, to see all these people here. I know that he was loved by a lot of people.”
The trip was extra special for the riders, according to Oklahoma’s News Channel 6, because Turner loved riding his motorcycle.
The 41-year-old’s remains were delivered into the hands of his mother with dignity just a few days after the trip began.
While the Patriot Guard is a volunteer organization, they do accept donations and other help. You can learn more at this link to their website.
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Source: The Tribunist