Patriot Guard Riders honor, escort fallen CTX sailor

Posted at 4:56 PM, Sep 14, 2017
and last updated 2018-11-03 15:19:57-04

John Hoagland's family didn't stand alone today. Instead, volunteers, the Patriot Guard Riders, showed up in full force to honor and escort the young sailor who gave the ultimate sacrifice. 

Twenty volunteers, veterans, and civilians, stood guard for a fellow patriot gone too soon while family and friends said their goodbyes.

"It's the least I can do to honor him because he's a great American... and I'm just doing my part, which isn't much, considering what he did... the ultimate sacrifice," Bruce True, a Central Texas veteran and Patriot Guard Rider, said.  

Hoagland's ultimate sacrifice did not go unhonored.

"For some people, it's a job, some people need to do that and other people just do it for love of country. But, regardless of that, they're doing it for us," Fran Berns, a Patriot Guard Rider, said.  

And so it was their turn, the Patriot Guard Riders, to stand for those who stood for us, stand for Hoagland. 

"I saw a lot of my fallen comrades disrespected and plus, I didn't want to see our service members have the same problems that we had when we came back from Vietnam," True added.  

"I'm from the Vietnam era where nobody honored us, and I always thought that if I had an opportunity to honor our soldiers, I would," Rick Gray, a Central Texas veteran, and Patriot Guard Rider said.  

And Gray did, for one of his own. 
"He's a local boy, and he had his goals to be a sailor... and he did that. And he's one of our people," Gray added.  

The Patriot Guard Riders stood guard outside the service and escorted John Hoagland to his final resting place... but, that didn't stop them from wishing they could do more. 

"I'm extremely sorry, and if I could give my life for him to come back, I would," True said emotionally. 

The Patriot Guard Riders were in attendance at the request of John Hoagland's family.

The Bell County Veterans Motorcycle Club was also in attendance with the Patriot Guard Riders today to honor Hoagland. 

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