WESTFIELD - It was a somber afternoon in Westfield as Sgt. Kevin White's body was returned home.
A hearse carrying White was escorted from the Jamestown Airport Wednesday to Main Street in Westfield where residents, supporters and local veteran organizations lined the street.
"I thought it was fantastic," Henry Link, Vice Commander for Chautauqua County American Legion and Commander for Brocton American Legion Post 434, said. "Absolutely, unbelievably fantastic."
Multiple color guards stood at attention to honor a fallen soldier as White's body passed by.
"We had to do it," Link said regarding why the Brocton Legion took part. "He's a veteran."
Link estimated that anywhere from 125 to 175 veterans were on hand for the procession among the approximately 20 different units on hand including VFWs, Legions and others.
"It worked very, very well," Link said of the entire event. "It was better than I expected."
There were no visible or audible interruptions as White's body traveled down Route 20. The solemn moment passed with onlookers holding up American flags that had been passed out earlier or covering their heart with their hand in a sign of respect. After the procession had passed, many wiped tears away or hugged each other.
Lynn Patterson was in attendance with her two boys, A.J. Patterson and Elijah Rivera, and her mother Kiona Callahan. Though Patterson did not know White personally, her younger brother, who himself is station in Germany with the Air Force, played sports with White, so Lynn and her family were there representing him as well as to pay their own respects.
Also paying their respects to a fallen comrade was the Hanover American Legion Post 148 and the Hanover Memorial VFW 6472 out of Silver Creek.
"(We're here) to show support for our veteran," Don Richards, First Vice Commander said. "It's an honor for us to be here."
"He gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country," John Letherbarrow, Secretary, said.
"God bless America," William Gunthorpe added.
Calling hours will be held today from 2 to 5 p.m. and again from 7 to 9 p.m. at the First Baptist Church, 19 Union Street in Westfield. Veterans are reminded to meet at 6:30 p.m. at the HSBC parking lot at 6:30 p.m. in order to pay their final respects en mass. A public service for White will be held on Friday at 11 a.m. at the church. The burial is private.
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