LEXINGTON -- With members of his family and community standing near, the flag-draped casket of Sgt. Jeremy R. Summers was lowered from a chartered jet to the waiting grasp of an honor guard from the U.S. Army, Forward Support Company, 19th Engineering Battalion, at Bluegrass Airport on Monday.
His parents, Mike and Laura Jo Summers, his siblings, Austin and Jessica, several family members and a host of Bracken County and Harrison County representatives waited near Gate 9, for a time in the rain, for the 9:25 a.m. flight from Dover Air Force Base, Del., carrying Summers' remains home.
Summers, 27, died in Afghanistan, July 14, after a small arms attack by enemy troops on July 13. He was serving as a U.S. Army Forward Scout Observer assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell.
His body was first taken to Dover AFB on July 15, where it was met by the Summers family.
On Monday, once the hearse was in place, family members emerged from official cars near the plane and members of FSC, 19th EN BTN, marched silently across the tarmac.
They were joined a moment later by a dozen U.S. flag-carrying members of the Patriot Guard, a volunteer group of motorcyclists who are U.S. veterans and follow a mission to honor returning soldiers.
"We are here to show our respect for his sacrifice," said Patriot Guard member Joe Lesser.
Mike and Laura Jo Summers held hands and stayed close to each other as their son's casket began to emerge from the plane. His brother and sister, and niece and nephew were also close, the youngest children being comforted by their grandmother, Rita King.
"We are overwhelmed by the love and support the community has given us through this entire process, " Laura Jo Summers said before the plane arrived.
Military members of the escorting team, staying with Summers' body day and night, emerged from the plane first and stood at attention as the apparatus which maneuvered the casket into position was readied.
Protected from the weather by a clear plastic cover, the casket was lowered to the honor guard level as all in attendance saluted or covered their hearts in a show of respect for the ceremony.
Once Summers' casket was secured in the hearse, Patriot Guard members walked silently to their vehicles and readied to escort the motorcade to Cynthiana and the final preparation for Summers' funeral.
In addition to Ware Funeral Home vehicles, Summers' family members, and an escort from the Lexington Metro Police, Patriot Guard motorcyclists, vehicles with representatives from Brooksville and Augusta fire departments, Brooksville Police Department, Bracken County Emergency Management, Bracken County and Harrison County government officials, State Rep. Mike Denham, State Rep. Tom McKee, State Sen. Robin Webb and private citizens also joined the motorcade line to escort Summers from Lexington to Cynthiana.
The Summers family has ties to Bracken and Harrison counties; family members live in both communities. Summers parents also work in Cynthiana, and he graduated from Bracken County High School in 2002.
Visitation is 5-9 p.m., Thursday, July 28, at Ware Funeral Home.
A full military honors service will be 11 a.m., Friday, July 29, at the funeral home with burial at Battle Grove Cemetery on Kentucky 36 in Cynthiana.