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Fallen Marine arrives home

LEESBURG -- Plans have been finalized to say farewell to a fallen hero.

The remains of Lance Cpl. Steven Sutton arrived at Kimbrell-Stern Funeral Directors Monday morning after a procession from Southwest Georgia Regional Airport led the hearse to the funeral home, officials at Kimbrell-Stern have confirmed.

The arrival of Sutton's body comes after it landed at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware last week.

Sutton, 24, was killed in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan during combat operations over the Memorial Day weekend. His funeral service is set for 2 p.m. Wednesday at First Baptist Church in Leesburg with interment to follow at Crown Hill Cemetery on Dawson Road in Albany.

A visitation is planned for 5 p.m.-8 p.m. today at Kimbrell-Stern. The family has reportedly asked that the funeral remain private, but crowds are expected to gather for the procession following the service.

The processional is expected to go from the Leesburg city limits along U.S. Highway 19 to Third Avenue in Albany. From there, it will proceed onto Dawson Road to Crown Hill Cemetery, the Marine's final resting place.

The procession that greeted Sutton at the airport on Monday included the Patriot Guard and Legion Riders, which are attached to the American Legion. The riders will be participating in the procession on Wednesday as well along a route that will include at least 1,000 American flags, officials with American Legion Post 30 confirm.

The Legion Riders link on Post 30's website states that Legion Riders sponsor or participate in local and national charity events in support of sponsoring the American Legion. The group raises money for such organizations as area veteran hospitals, battered women and children centers, various youth programs, low-income families, among others.

The Legion Riders founded a national movement called "Patriot Guard," meant to honor and protect the sanctity of military funerals and memorial services. The Patriot Guard Riders, through www.patriotguard.org, describe their main mission as attending the funeral services of fallen American service members as invited guests of the family.

They do so by showing respect for fallen heroes, their families and their communities as well as shielding the family and their friends from interruptions created by any protester or group of protesters through legal and non-violent means, the website says.

Born in Tifton, Sutton is a 2007 graduate of Lee County High School, his obituary states. He has been described by those who knew him as a "Gentle Giant." He joined the Marines in 2009 and was attached to the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment of the 2nd Marine Division.

There has been an account set up to help Sutton's family offset the cost of the funeral as well as other expenses. Those wishing to contribute may donate to the Steven Sutton Memorial Account, c/o Heritage Bank of the South, P.O. Box 50728, Albany, Ga., 31703.

Marvin Mixon with American Legion Post 30 said his organization will be distributing American Flags every 150 feet along the processional route. Mixon said American Legion members will be handing out flags at 1:30 p.m. in Leesburg and will retrieve them immediately after the procession as it travels from Leesburg to the cemetery.

Comments

albanyherald1 2 years, 5 months ago

I have heard rumors that the Westside Baptist Church cult will be in Leesburg tomorrow to protest Steve's funeral. If this is the case, the community has got to come out and support/protect this family. They are grieving enough than to have these stupid people in their face!

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VietVet1 2 years, 5 months ago

As far as the Westside Baptist Church showing up - may look forward meeting them eye to eye.

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VietVet1 2 years, 5 months ago

RIP Steve - your country will miss a fine citizen.

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albanyherald1 2 years, 5 months ago

Sorry. That would be Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas, not Westside.

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Michael Buckelew 2 years, 5 months ago

Thanks for your service and sacrifice, Marine.

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eliza5263 2 years, 5 months ago

WE ARE ONE NATION UNDER GOD, AND HE WILL PREVAIL. AS CHRISTIANS WE NEED TO APPLY THE BLOOD OF JESUS. MY FAITH IN GOD OF WHOM I FEAR, WILL TAKE CARE OF THIS PROBLEM.

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tracihenry 2 years, 5 months ago

would you like my phone number? oh, never mind your group has already called my house and my cell. HEY btw...I have more signs now. Please call me again!

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albanyherald1 2 years, 5 months ago

Huh??? I'm confused by this comment.

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VietVet1 2 years, 5 months ago

My God will take care of you and your believers. Let me know when any of your members pass on so I can come celebrate. I believe in Karma and feel someone close to you will be feeding the fire in the near future. Have a blessed day.

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Hawk59 2 years, 5 months ago

Lance Cpl. Steven Sutton, may you forever rest in peace. Thank you for your service to this Country. For you, and soldiers like you are my HEROES. God bless the Sutton family, so sorry for Our loss.

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jglass 2 years, 5 months ago

Why on earth would anyone protest a funeral. I will not be able to help line the streets, but I certainly hope many others will be shoulder to shoulder. Prayers go out to the family members.

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waltspecht 2 years, 5 months ago

Let the Sheriff and the Patriot Riders handle Westboro if they show. They didn't show at Bainbridge nor Thomasville because both communities were legally ready for them. I also doubt they have a permit from Lee County, Leesburg or Albany. These folks seem to be interested in provoking and profiting from Law Suits, lets not add to their coffers. They video their demonstrations just for this purpose. Be careful out there, but be out there.

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Al_B_Darn 2 years, 5 months ago

Please don't give these fools the attention and disruption they're craving. They want to cause a scene. Don't give them one. Like waltspecht said, let the police and Patriot Riders handle them. Our job as citizens is to honor and support Lcpl Sutton and his family the best we can, not to provoke and fuel the fire of those idiots.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 5 months ago

If I had my wish, and if the Westboro fools show up, they would all be sent back to Kansas in a box.

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albanyherald1 2 years, 5 months ago

I say lets line up all his fellow LCHS football players and Westboro can see how Lee County defense works! Tackling allowed!!!

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FlunkyMonkey 2 years, 5 months ago

Rest in peace Lance Corporal. Why can't this area, Albany AND Leesburg, have a joint Veteran's Day parade? We need to honor ALL veterans, both living and dead.

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