Patriot Guard Riders (PGR) is an organization that attends funerals for members of the military, firefighters, and police officers. When members of PGR found out that remains of Staff Sgt. Jonathan Turner, who served seven tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, were coming home in FedEx box, they had to step in. The Marine died at the age of 41 in California from combat-related injuries a year after his retirement. His family couldn’t attend his funeral in California, so the bikers brought him home in a respectful manner. Continue reading below.
“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,” said Jeff Goodiel of the Georgia Patriot Guard Riders. “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.” Members of GPR claim it was the longest trip of its kind with hundred of volunteers who transported the remains more than 2,000 miles.
Patriot Guard Riders started their mission in 2005. American Legion Riders chapter 136 from Kansas were upset to learn about a misguided religious group protesting at funerals of fallen heroes. At the ALR 136 August meeting, Director of the PGR organization appointed members to form a committee to set a strategy to keep away the Westboro Baptist Church. After learning that the church has been planning to protest at the Funeral of Sgt. John Doles in Chelsea, Oklahoma, they established a Mission Statement. PGR received a permission from the families to contact Law Enforcement and other Motorcycle Groups in Oklahoma for support.
Members of PGR have an unwavering respect for those who risk their very lives for America’s freedom and security including Fallen Military Heroes, First Responders and honorably discharged Veterans. They shield the mourning families and their friends from interruptions created by protesters or any kind of harassment. They accomplish that through strictly legal and non-violent means. The organization also attends the funerals of homeless veterans, who have no family or friends to come to their berial ceremony.