In a heartwarming display of respect and honour, a group of bikers carried the remains of fallen US marine Sergeant Jonathan Turner to his hometown Georgia, when they discovered his family couldn’t attend his California memorial service.
Sgt. Jonathan Turner, a former US Marine Corps solider who served seven tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, died aged 41 of combat-related injuries in California.
The veteran’s family were devastated when they found out they couldn’t afford to visit California for Jonathan’s memorial service. They had arranged for his remains to be shipped home in a “FedEx” box.
PGR bikers set off on their cross-country ride.
In a heroic collaborative effort to help the brave solider reach his final resting place, hundreds of volunteers across nine states from The Patriot Guard Riders (PGR) decided to step in and make the cross-country trip.
PGR describes itself as ensuring “dignity and respect at memorial services honoring Fallen Military Heroes, First Responders and honorably discharged Veterans.”
“We did this primarily because his mother was unable to attend the services. He had been cremated and we didn’t want him to go home in a FedEx box,” David Noble, Oklahoma Patriot Guard Riders Captain, told Fox 5News Atlanta.
Another PGR biker said his mission was to get Jonathan from California “to his mother’s arms so she can be at ease that he’s home.”
Over a period of six days Jonathan’s ashes were carried from state to state, to each local group of bikers.
The bikers pause to hold a brief ceremony for Jonathan.
Determined to lighten the Turner family’s heart-wrenching predicament, Jeff Goodiel, a member of the Georgia PGR volunteered to give the marine a dignified final journey home.
“It wasn’t proper to ship this war hero home via FedEx,” he said.
Dubbed a “Pony Express”, the mission was the longest of its kind, according to organizers.
Asha Lamy, a PGR rider who took part in the effort.
PGR rider Asha Lamy wanted to ensure Jonathan was treated with respect even in death. “I need the family to know that you’re not alone and we care,” she told Fox 5News.
Jonathan was a “great leader who inspired his fellow Marines, both in the Corps and in daily life,” according to the PGR’s website. “You were his friend if you knew him for five minutes or five years. He would give you the shirt off his back.”
When the remains of the heroic marine finally made it home, his family were extremely grateful for the kind efforts of the bikers.
“It’s heartwarming to see all these people here. I know that he was loved by a lot of people,” Jonathan’s mother, Annie Glanton said.
Source: Fox 5 Atlanta