Patriot Guard Riders transfer ashes of 5 unaccompanied veterans to San Antonio


ABILENE, Texas - More than 30 Patriot Guard Riders transported remains of five unaccompanied and unclaimed veterans from Amarillo to San Antonio. The riders were taking the ashes to Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery for a military funeral.

They made their way through parts of the Big Country on Thursday.

"Patriot Guard felt that these veterans should get the honor and respect that they deserve by having a proper military funeral," said Jerry Moore, with the Texas Patriot Guard Riders.

Out of the five veterans, three were from the Vietnam War, one from the Korean War and one Navy veteran. Moore said all five of the veterans received honorable discharges. The five veterans include: Michael Topp, Michael Papencheck, Ronald Stevenson, Laird Orton Jr., and Jerry Harris.

At their stop in Sweetwater, a formal exchange was done. The remains of one of the veterans was transferred to another motorcycle that was continuing on to San Antonio. Multiple riders said they couldn't believe the amount of support they had throughout their trip. Including support from law enforcement agencies and first responders.

"We had Vietnam veterans taking Vietnam veterans home to be entered in a national cemetery where they belong. And so it's very emotional for me," said Jean Clark, with the Texas Patriot Guard Riders.

Clark said hundreds of students lined up along the highway to wave flags as they rode by. Patriot Guard Riders also had a sendoff in Amarillo.

"As long as my health will allow me. I will continue to honor all my brothers and sisters who have worn uniform," Moore said.

The funeral service will begin at 10 a.m Friday.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off