CONNEAUT, Ohio-- Hundreds lined Main Street in downtown Conneaut late Tuesday night for a somber homecoming honoring one of their own.
The remains of U.S. Army Sgt. Thomas Cole Walker were greeted at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport by an honor guard and first responders from Geauga, Lake and Ashtabula counties.
The 22-year-old newlywed was killed Oct. 20 during a training accident at Fort Stewart in Georgia.
Plans for the tribute began almost immediately after the community learned of the tragedy.
Multiple law enforcement vehicles escorted the flag-draped casket more than 80 miles back home to Conneaut, where hundreds of flags lined state Route 7 leading into town.
Bagpipes played as the procession passed through town beneath the glow of street lights and candles, as the hearse headed to Marcy Funeral Home on Liberty Street, escorted by a full military honor guard.
Visitation will be 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday at New Leaf United Methodist Church, and also on Saturday from noon until the service at 2 pm.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Feed Our Vets, 433 Center St., Ashtabula, OH 44004. Donors are asked to specify “Walker Family Ashtabula County Ohio” in the remarks.