Patriot Guard Escorts Veteran's Remains 2,000 Miles Because They Couldn't Bear To 'Ship the War Hero Home By Fed-Ex'

A veteran who served 17 years in the Marine Corps and who went on seven tours duty to Iraq and Afghanistan tragically passed away due to combat-related injuries.

The retired military man was living in California, but his family home in Georgia was unable to afford the trip to the west coast to receive his remains. They were going to ship the remains through Federal Express, but when the Patriot Guard Riders heard the story, they wouldn't have it.

Staff Sgt. Jonathan Turner retired a year ago, but the injuries he received in combat led to his death. His funeral was in California, but his mother, family, and friends from back home in Georgia were unable to attend because they couldn't afford the trip.

Patriot Guard Riders heard about the family's plight and knew they had to honor the fallen veteran by escorting his remains home personally. They arranged a convoy and the biker group passed the remains to members from state to state until they were put in his mother's hands.

The PGR is an internet organization made up mostly bikers, most of whom serve or have served in the military, as firefighters or police officers. The group was initially founded by veteran motorcyclists, but membership is open.

One need not be a veteran or a biker to join the group. Interested persons just need to share the group's dedication to helping veterans and their families.

The group was first started in 2005, and their primary goal was to protect the family of fallen soldiers when funerals were picketed by hate groups like the Westboro Baptist Church.

Members of the group would stand with their motorcycles and American flags to create a wall between protesters and mourners. If the hate group shouted offensive things, the PGR members would rev their engines to drown it out.

This time, their mission was to see Turner home safely in a dignified and honorable way. The idea of shipping the veterans ashes off with the mail didn't work for them.
"The California Patriot Guard Riders contacted all of the state captains from California to Georgia and explained the situation, that it wasn't proper to ship this war hero home via FedEx," said Jeff Goodiel, a member from Georgia.

The arrangements were made quickly and smoothly. Hundreds of volunteers stepped up to help riders along the 2,000-mile journey, and a group of PGR members gathered to witness the arrival of the remains with the family.

The trip began last Tuesday, and by Sunday, the veteran was home. It was an emotional moment.

“It’s heartwarming, to see all these people here,” said Annie Glanton, Turner’s mother, “I know that he was loved by a lot of people.”

The grieving mother only wished her son could have seen the act of kindness carried out by mostly strangers. She believes he would have been touched.

“Turner was a great leader who inspired his fellow Marines, both in the Corps and in daily life,” reads the PGR website.

“You were his friend if you knew him for five minutes or five years. He would give you the shirt off his back.”

Source: AWM
Photo: Tribunist

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