Dignified Homecoming for Marine

Nonprofit group gives a final assist to brave patriot

He died of injuries related to his military service, a fallen American veteran, a man who served seven tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq.

And if no one stepped in, his remains were going to travel across the country in a plain brown box, minus the honor, dignity and respect he deserved.

Marine Staff Sgt. Jonathan Turner, who passed away recently at age 41 in Temecula, Calif., served for 17 years. But his mother, Annie Glanton, of College Park, Ga., couldn’t afford to travel to attend the Marine Corps services in California and then return home with her son’s remains.

The Marine Corps stepped in, covering the funeral expenses and the cremation in California. Another group then took over from there.

The Patriot Guard Riders (PGR), a nonprofit group with “an unwavering respect for those who risk their very lives for America’s freedom and security,” heard about the family’s plight and mobilized. They organized a 2,000-mile journey through seven states in five days to make sure the fallen Marine’s remains traveled home with care and dignity.

At the end of the painstaking journey, members of the PGR placed Turner’s ashes directly into his mother’s waiting hands.

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“It’s heartwarming, to see all these people here,” Turner’s mother told Atlanta’s Fox 5. “I know that he was loved by a lot of people.”

“To those of you who are currently serving and fighting for the freedoms of others, at home and abroad, please know that we are backing you,” the Patriot Guard Riders say on their website. “We honor and support you with every mission we carry out, and we are praying for a safe return home for all.”


meet the author

Maureen Mackey served as editor-in-chief and managing editor of LifeZette for nearly five years. Before that, she held senior editorial positions at major publications, helping The Fiscal Times win a MIN Award for Best New Site as managing editor and Reader's Digest win an American Society of Magazine Editors Award for General Excellence as book editor. Her work has appeared in Real Clear Politics, CNBC, A Fine Line, AARP Magazine, Yahoo Finance, MSN, Business Insider, and The Week, among other outlets. She is a member of the Newswomen's Club of New York and the American Legion Auxiliary.

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