September 19, 2021
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Bound for a peaceful resting place

  • The veteran owned and operated "Freedom Motorcycle Hearse," whose owner rode down from Sacramento for the occasion, with the Armed Forces cremains that had been transferred from the traditional hearse of the Santa Rosa Mortuary where they had been stored for close to a year. About 250 Veterans led by California Highway Patrol prepared for their departure to the National Cemetery in Dixon. Photo by Robert Grant

By: Irene Hilsendager
September 27, 2019

Last Sat. morning at the Rohnert Park & Ride lot was an amazing sight. Escort vehicles and motorcycles were lined up and waiting for a hearse that was custom designed to carry and transfer the cremains of 38 military veterans that will be escorted, which Ron Collier, POC, says are the forgotten ones at the Chapel of the Chimes. Ron, a retired Windsor fire chief, has made it his life mission to gather up unclaimed veteran remains. California law states that if cremains have been on the shelf for a year, it is considered abandonment. Collier says this is a 501 3 c project to look for those abanded cremains and give them a proper burial.

California does allow Collier to take the cremains, along with a new burial permit and as Ron so eloquently put it “he is acting as the last relative and put them in a veteran approved military cemetery. All qualified vets will then rest in the Dixon military cemetery.

Collier says “i have dedicated much of my retirement to make sure proper burial will be done with the remains after a large number of vets have been left on dusty mortuary shelves.” Ron, talking about the vets, said “some of these containers have been here for 60 plus years.”

Collier said that Friday he was very busy and extremely tired after flag draping the urns of six World War I vets, 24 World War II vets, six from the Korean War, two Vietnam vets and two peace time vets. There were also two wives that will be buried next to their husbands.

Nearing 9 a.m., the motorcycles and other vehicles set out for Interstate 80 and the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery. The Dixon cemetery has 36,000 remains buried in an acreage that will hold one million people, the largest in the country.

Some of the overpasses along Hwy. 101 were filled with people saluting, cheering and giving their fond farewells to veterans that have served this country so nobly.