Staff Sgt. Jonathan Turner was an outstanding American hero. He volunteered to serve in the United States Marine Corps and did a fantastic job while he was there. After serving seven tours of Iraq, he moved to California, where he died from a combat-related injury at the age of 41. The military planned to transport Staff Sgt.’s ashes in a brown UPS box by ground shipping thousands of miles away since they lived in Georgia and his family back home.
A veteran’s organization learned about the military’s plans and determined that Staff Sgt. Turner deserved better than to be sent across the country in a brown UPS box. They called their cadre of bikers together and decided to do something no one had asked them to do, but was greatly appreciated. Their network of bikers found a means to transport Turner’s remains from California to his family’s home in Georgia so his beloved ones could receive him in a manner befitting an American hero.
The Patriot Guard Riders were the ones who volunteered to assist. The organization invites everyone to join their clan, not just veterans and motorcyclists. Members of the group, on the other hand, have a “deep respect for those who serve our country.”
“We don’t care what you ride or if you ride, what your political views are, or whether you’re a hawk or a dove,” the group stated. “It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what your income is; you don’t even have to ride. The only prerequisite is Respect.”
PGR was founded by Westboro Baptist Church. However, the church is commonly associated with protests at veteran’s funerals. So PGR started to support veterans in an effort to change that perception.
After learning that Turner’s remains would be transported in a UPS box, the PGR members based in California felt compelled to take action and ensure he was returned home correctly. They formed a plan to transport Turner’s remains from his funeral site in California back to his hometown and family in Georgia.
“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,” 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.”
The journey of Turner’s remains was the longest in PGR history. Hundreds of people collaborated to transport Turner’s body 2,000 miles across the country in order to fulfill his request.
“It’s heartwarming to see all these people here,” stated Annie Glanton, Turner’s mother. “I know that he was loved by a lot of people.”