BIRMINGHAM, AL. (WIAT) The remains of a Marine Corps veteran were escorted through Alabama Sunday night while on it’s way home.
On Saturday, Patriot Guard Riders rode with the cremated remains of Staff Sergeant Jonathan Turner.
He died in California, but his family is in Georgia. The Patriot Guard said it wanted to return Turner to his hometown with dignity.
A different group of riders left the west coast Thursday and state guards met up at state lines since to transfer the duty of getting Turner back to his parents. The 41-year-old served seven tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
More than twenty riders from Birmingham joined the ride as it continued east. Altogether, more than fifty men and women left Birmingham to continue the next leg of the journey.
“You can’t describe it. Because of men like him, their history, we have our present and our future,” said John Burke, Assistant State Ride Captain.
Some riders, like Mike Randall, said they didn’t serve in the military themselves, but believe this is a way to honor those who did. “They’re sacrificing a lot for us, and some of them pay the ultimate sacrifice. It’s just my way of saying thank you and paying tribute back to them,” said Randall.
The Patriot Guard is made up entirely of volunteers, and they undergo hundreds of missions each year, dedicated to honoring service members.