TAMPA (WFLA) — After nobody claimed his remains, a group of Tampa volunteers came together to escort the body of a veteran to his hometown and final resting place, Louisville, Kentucky.
96-year-old Col. Wallace Anderson Taylor, a World War II and Korean War veteran outlived all of his relatives.
Taylor lived in Zephyrhills when he passed away.
His friend Robert Lynch, a Veterans Experience Officer at James A Haley Veterans’ Hospital had the idea for the escort, to fulfill Taylor’s dying wish to be buried next to his mother.
James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital and the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association are partners in the Final Mile program. The program ensures that veterans who pass away with nobody to claim their remains are not alone on their final trip for interment.
This will be the first multiday cross-country escort since the Final Mile program began in 2019. While the World War II and Korean War Veteran had no family, he left instructions that he wanted to be buried in his Kentucky hometown.
CVMA members from the Tampa Bay area will provide an escort for Taylor over three days to the funeral site in Louisville for the funeral on Sunday, April 18, a round trip of almost 2,000 miles.
The procession started at a funeral home in Sarasota. The group stopped at the VA Hospital in Hillsborough County before leaving for Kentucky.
CVMA has arranged for a police escort along the entire journey and have invited other veterans organizations to participate in the escort along the route.