It’s only fitting that those who have lost their lives during military service are honored in the most respectable way possible. That is why the Patriot Guard Riders (PGR) do what they do. The organization consists of a group of members who attend the funerals of U.S. military members, police, and firefighters at the request of the deceased person’s family. Their roles include honor guard operations at military burials, protection of mourners, and filling out of the ranks at indigent and homeless veteran burials.
In addition to these responsibilities, the national organization also does volunteer work for veteran’s organizations and hosts homecoming celebrations.
The PGR was front and center when Staff Sgt. Jonathan Turner lost his life due to combat-related injuries a year after he retired. Tuner served seven tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and was residing in California when he died. Because his family was located in Georgia they were unable to attend his funeral in California. This is when the PGR stepped in and made sure that Turner’s remains would get back to his family properly, instead of being shipped back via FedEx.
“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,” Jeff Goodiel of the Georgia Patriot Guard Riders said. “Within days, a convoy was assembled with each state’s Patriot Guard Riders driving Turner’s cremated remains across their state and then passing those remains off to the next group of riders.”
This particular trip marked a historical moment for the PGR as it was the longest trip of its kind. But this didn’t stop volunteers from joining in on the 2,000-mile ride to deliver the remains in a respectable manner.
“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.”
“Turner was a great leader who inspired his fellow Marines, both in the Corps and in daily life,” a statement on the PGR website states, asserting that Turner was well worth the trip. “You were his friend if you knew him for five minutes or five years. He would give you the shirt off his back.”
The video below shows the process that the PGR undergoes in order to safely and respectfully transfer the remains. Taking good care of Turner’s medals, documents, the flag, and remains, the riders ensure that each item is safely encased before it is passed along from one rider to the next. In addition to these items and the remains, every rider who was involved in the process signs a Bible that is transferred and given to Turner’s family. The entire time this process is going on two of the riders are holding up the United States Marine Corps flag, showing the ultimate respect for SSgt. Turner.
Commenters had positive things to say about the inspiring group…
“The PGR are an amazing organization of Men and Women who have respect for those who served! Most have themselves. To see respect and reverence for the American Flag and the remains of our fallen Hero. Honor, service, and ceremony shown in a humble parking lot. Inspiring! Thank you all for the Sacrifice and continued Service to your Country. You are appreciated!”