VetStock, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, headquartered in Pike County, PA, helped bring home WWII Combat Veteran Wallace Anderson Taylor “Colonel Taylor” to his final resting place in Kentucky. A VetStock donation of $4,800 was made on April 15th, 2021, to CVMA 20-10 to cover all the costs of the transport.
Taylor was a combat veteran during WWII with the Army Air Corps in 1942 and 1943, and during the Korean War serving in two campaigns in 1951 and 1952. He served honorably and rose to the rank of Technical Sergeant (E7). After the war, he was commissioned by the Governor of Kentucky as a “Kentucky Colonel,” where he got his nickname, Colonel Taylor, which he was known by for the rest of his life. Taylor was a Master Mason and had made many contributions to his community, state and country. He was a long time patient of James A. Haley VA Hospital and was loved by many of the staff. Taylor outlived his family and was technically unclaimed, however, he left a legacy and let his wishes be known. The CVMA ensured that he would be taken home to Louisville, KY and that his final wishes would be honored.
The ride covered over 2,000 miles round trip over four days, with regularly scheduled stops that were publicized to all CVMAs along the way with an invite to join the ride to honor Taylor. A secure police escort and various veteran service organizations were present along the route to show support.
“There was a multi-day, Final Mile escort that began at Jennings Funeral Home in Sarasota, FL, and traveled to James A. Haley VA Hospital in Tampa, FL. A Final Mile ceremony was held on April 16th, followed by the journey to Kentucky,” said CVMA 20-10 president and event coordinator Greg (Patches) Pelletier. “The funeral took place on April 18th at Resthaven Cemetery, Louisville, KY. The Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association (CVMA) provided the motorcycle escort for the entirety of the journey. We provided no less than 6 riders and a recovery vehicle with motorcycle trailer and tools in case of a breakdown.”
VetStock co-founder, Tom Ryan, participated in the first leg of the journey to Kentucky. Ryan notes his own experience, “On Friday, April 16th, I took my motorcycle and drove to Tampa from Dade City, Fl, along with Jim (Strapper) Strasser, VetStock Florida representative. The intent was to pay our respects to Taylor and participate in the first leg of the journey back to Kentucky. From the moment I arrived, I was struck by the respect and honor that was shown to Taylor. About 35 to 40 members of CVMA 20-10 and 20-15 were on hand to participate in the service and complete the escort to his resting place in Kentucky. He was a decorated combat veteran, it was hard for me to understand that he had outlived all of his relatives, he was alone when he passed and there was no one to claim his remains and provide a proper burial. I began to fill with great pride at what VetStock had done in donating the funds to cover the expenses of the trip. Colonel Taylor deserved the honor of a proper burial with honors in a place of his choosing.”
Ryan continues, “The emotions were real, we all felt it, another hero was going home with honors. I was profoundly honored to be part of the ceremony and escort, and especially proud that VetStock had provided the monies for our brothers and sisters from CVMA 20-10 and 20-15 to honor this veteran. To date, these chapters have provided escort and burial for 20 unclaimed veterans from the Tampa VA Hospital. No veteran deserves to be alone or deprived of a burial without family.”
Since 2012, VetStock has provided financial help to vetted, legitimate veteran organizations, such as CVMA, that empower, enrich and improve the lives of our veterans. “We are a team of volunteers who are passionate and dedicated to making sure that access to appropriate support and services is always available,” said co-founder Tom Ryan, “We are deeply committed to our motto; WE DO IT FOR VETS.”
Proper Burial with Honors
We Help Bury them with honor.
We are committed to providing financial help to vetted, legitimate veteran organizations doing what is necessary when it comes to a deceased veteran receiving a proper burial. No veteran deserves to be alone or deprived of a burial with or without family.