After USMC Staff Sgt. Jonathan Turner passed away after a 17-year-career in the Marines, his mother was heartbroken to discover that she couldn’t afford to travel and retrieve her son’s ashes. Turner toured in Afghanistan and Iraq seven times, but she just wasn’t able to make the trip all the way to the West Coast. The most that could happen was to have his ashes shipped home to her instead. When the Patriot Guard Riders heard about it, they stepped in to help.
The Patriot Guard Riders are an organization who attend the funerals of the military, firefighters, and police officers at the invitation of the deceased’s family. They form honor guards at military burials, protect mourners, and attend the funerals of homeless veterans. They frequently greet troops returning from overseas and volunteer with veteran charities.
They organized a caravan to escort Turner’s ashes home all the way across the country. Hundreds of volunteers drove thousands of miles. A small ceremony was performed each time the ashes changed hands from one group of riders to the next in order to pay their respects to Turner’s memory and sacrifice.
We did this primarily because his mother was unable to attend the services, and he had been cremated and we didn’t want him to go home in a Fed Ex box,” Oklahoma Patriot Guard Riders Capt. David Noble said.
With their help, the remains were presented to Turner’s mother, who was exceedingly grateful for what the riders did to honor her son’s memory.
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