A 90-year-old D-Day veteran is now at rest in his native Pennsylvania thanks to a nine-state journey that was escorted through Virginia by a member of Faith Ryders, a New River Valley motorcycle ministry.
Eddie Wright of Fairlawn, Faith Ryders founder and elder, said he had the honor of being able to help escort the body of John H. Nichols and members of Nichols’ family as they passed through the Commonwealth Saturday, Oct. 12. Wright joined fellow members of the Patriot Guard Riders (PGR) at the Virginia/North Carolina line and escorted the procession to Princeton, W.Va.
A World War II Army veteran and member of the 101st Airborne Division, Nichols was injured while parachuting into Normandy during the June 6, 1944 D-Day invasion. He received the Purple Heart, in addition to “many other medals, awards and citations,” according to Wright.
Nichols died Sept. 15 in Tampa, Fla. The PGR escort started in Diamond, Miss. His son, Chuck, a PGR member and veteran, requested the escort to fulfill his father’s wishes to be laid to rest in Pennsylvania. The escort started Oct. 10 at the son’s home in Diamond, Miss., and passed through Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia, before ending in Kennerdell, Pa., Oct. 13.
Chuck Nichols’ brother, Jack, a veteran of the Army’s 173rd Airborne Division, and his sister and brother-in-law, Deb and David Copolillo, joined the escort in Florida.