The Patriot Guard Riders is a US organization whose members attend the funerals of members of the U.S. military, firefighters and police at the invitation of a decedent’s family.
The group helps protect mourners from harassment, fills out the ranks at burials of indigent and homeless veterans, and they form an honor guard at military burials.
Aside from attending funerals, the group attends other, less gloomy events: they greet troops returning from overseas at homecoming celebrations, and they also do a lot of volunteer work for veteran’s organizations.
The Patriot Guard Riders, PGR as they are referred to, is not a motorcycle club. In fact, you don’t have to ride a motorcycle to be a member. It’s free to join and made up of all volunteers.
They have two basic missions;
First, to honor and at the request of their family serve as escorts for our fallen heroes to their final rest. They serve as a shield against those who would disrupt and dishonor those who have fallen in service to our country.
Secondly, the PRG supports Help On The Homefront. (HOTH) This effort is to help active veterans and their families. For example, they help in building, repairing, adapting housing for disabled Vets needs.
In one particular situation, Staff Sergeant Jonathan Turner died in California from combat related injuries, after serving seven tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unfortunately, his couldn’t afford the trip from Georgia to California to attend the funeral funeral, so the Marine Corps handled the funeral arrangements – including shipping Staff Sergeant ashes back home.
The Patriot Guard Riders decided to step in, so they created a caravan to personally escort SSgt Turner’s remains across the country. Thousands of miles were ridden and hundreds of volunteers were involved.
“We did this primarily because his mother was unable to attend the services, and he had been cremated and we didn’t want him to go home in a Fed Ex box,” Oklahoma Patriot Guard Riders Capt. David Noble said.
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