Tampa veterans escort unclaimed WWII veteran 1000 miles to be buried subsequent to his mother in Kentucky
TAMPA, Florida – An unclaimed World War II and Korean War veteran is honored in a very special way. A group of Tampa Bay veterans see to it that Col. Wallace Taylor gets his last wish to be buried next to his mother in Kentucky.
“He was a bit fidgeted around the edges. He was a huge fan of John Wayne and that tough image,” said Robert Lynch, who works at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital, where Taylor was a patient.
But Taylor survived his entire family and when he died a few weeks ago at the age of 96 there was no one to challenge his body. The tough guy’s last wish was to be buried with the cremated remains of his three dogs, along with the blanket his mother made for him, and buried next to her in Kentucky.
“We’re vets helping vets and this is our last opportunity to help that vet,” said David Allen of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association.
CVMA is committed to adopting unclaimed veterans and properly military burying them.
“They are our brothers and sisters,” said Allen.
On Friday, Taylor’s life was honored with a ceremony outside the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital.
“I could see him look down now and say, ‘Robert, it’s time the VA did something right,'” Lynch said.
Now dozens of drivers are giving Taylor a military procession as far as Kentucky, where other veterans and law enforcement agencies will join them on the multi-day journey.
“It’s not a really sad day, he was 96 years old. So for us it’s a rolling celebration of life,” said Allen.
The group even made a coin in Taylor’s honor to commemorate the 1,000 mile journey of veterans who came together to ensure that one of them gets the honor he deserves.
Taylor’s funeral will take place in Louisville on Sunday.
For more information and in support of Col. Taylor’s Final Mile Funeral Escort, you can visit GoFundMe here.