INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - A Hoosier Marine who died at a U.S. military base arrived home Tuesday, and a long-standing tradition welcomed him one last time.
Lance Cpl. Thomas Soeurt Jr., Terre Haute, died unexpectedly last week at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Tuesday, about an hour before the 22-year-old arrived home for the last time, the Indiana Patriot Guard's plan was already under way.
"The family is going to be coming in here with the hearse to do a personnel switch," said Indiana Patriot Guard Rider Keith Jacks.
About 100 members of the team organized at the Indianapolis Airport. They biked from around the state to pay their respects to the fallen Marine.
"He didn't know me, but died for me," said Indiana Patriot Guard Rider Andy "Maverick" Shirley.
Shirley is the team's leader. Shirley said for him and his members, these salutes never get any easier.
"They are all here because they want to be here," he said of the riders.
Soeurt enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2007 after graduating from Terre Haute South Vigo High School. He died Oct. 4.
"There's nothing worse than losing your child," said Jacks
Jacks is a Marine and a Hoosier veteran.
"I feel this is the best way I can to honor a fallen comrade," he said.
Then the casket arrived to the Patriot Guard's salute.
"It's a comfort the family when they know that their loved one is not going to be forgotten," Shirley said.
Visitation services for Soeurt are from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at DeBaun Springhill Chapel in Terre Haute. Funeral services are at 1 p.m. Thursday. Burial services with full military honors will be at New Harmony Cemetery.
Thousands of people in Indianapolis were without power early Thursday morning.
Hoosiers saw unbearably cold temperatures Thursday morning.
Mintonye Elementary School may be ready to open in August, but Southwestern Middle School won't be ready. That's the preliminary assessment Superintendent Scott Hanback told the Tippecanoe School Corporation school board Wednesday evening.