Runnels County residents lined the highways on Thursday, May 31 as the cremains of eight veterans were escorted through the county by the Patriot Guard Riders. The cremains of the soldiers were transported to their final resting place at Fort Sam Houston Cemetery in San Antonio where each soldier received a full military service.

Runnels County residents lined the highways on Thursday, May 31 as the cremains of eight veterans were escorted through the county by the Patriot Guard Riders. The cremains of the soldiers were transported to their final resting place at Fort Sam Houston Cemetery in San Antonio where each soldier received a full military service.

The cremains were the unclaimed remains of eight veterans who either were homeless or did not have any known relatives at the time of their death.

One of cremains belonged to Dana Dean Milton Jr.,who served in World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars. Milton served in the Army, Navy, and Air Force and was awarded the Purple Heart. His cremains may have been unclaimed since 1987, said Joel Carver of the Missing in America Project. The cremains were housed in the courthouse in Amarillo until the 445-mile trip was planned.

"These cremains were left alone, unclaimed and this was something that needed to be done," Carver said told a local television station.

The names of the other soldiers who were escorted to San Antonio and received a full military burial included: Don Stewart, Private First Class U.S. Army; Cody Washington, Aviation Electronic Tech, Second Class U.S. Navy; Robert Pete Brunner, Private, U.S. Army; Floyd Ray White, Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps; Andrew Benson Bramlett, Private First Class U.S. Army; George Machoul Aswad, II, Aviation Radio Man U.S. Navy and Everett Earl Criss, Seaman, U.S. Navy.

The escort consisted of three legs - the first leg The Amarillo Patriot Guard Riders which includes Lubbock, the second includes West Texas Patriot Guard Riders which is riders from Odessa and Midland and the third leg was the responsibility of the North Texas Patriot Guard Riders and that brought the cremains all the way to San Antonio.

Josue Griego, Ride Captain for the Amarillo Patriot Guard, said that his group began the trek to San Antonio.

“Some of them road to Odessa and Midland, where other riders joined the ride and then on to Sweetwater,” Griego said.

Other riders picked up the tour in Runnels County as well, where patriotic citizens lined the streets waving flags as a line of motorcycles, headed in the front by Runnels County Sheriff’s Office vehicles, road through the city. The cremains were carried in a special hearse furnished by an Amarillo funeral home.

At the cemetery, the Memorial Services Detachment Honor Guard performed three volleys of rifle fire and the sounding of taps. Flag folders from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force were also at the ceremony.

The purpose of the Missing in America (MIA) project is to locate, identify and inter the unclaimed cremated remains of American veterans through the joint efforts of private, state and federal organizations. The purpose is to provide honor and respect to those who have served this country by securing a final resting place for these forgotten heroes.