Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Funeral of a Hero


James Wilkinson Taylor RN, Flight Nurse, First Lieutenant U.S. Army Reserves, husband, and father of three.

The world has truly lost a hero. James Taylor RN, lost his life because of injuries from a tragic helicopter collision over Flagstaff, Arizona when two medical helicopters collided on June 29. James found peace several days later on July 4, 2008 with his family at his side. He touched the lives of countless people and gave his own trying to save a life.

I went to the funeral of my friend, James Taylor RN, earlier today. The obituary is below. I met James when he was hired as a nurse on West 7 (Advanced Cardiac Care Unit) at LDS Hospital. I trained him, as this was his first nursing job. James was a great guy and was a true hero. The funeral was so sad and was packed with people. He had a lot of friends because he was such a dynamic guy.

When I drove to the service there were about forty American flags on poles being held by big biker guys outside the stake center (an LDS church). The bikers are called Patriot Riders. They are good guys and escorted James to the cemetery for interment after the service. The church was filled with people, at least 300 people or more. There were quite a few in military uniforms--all the pall bearers, and lots of other people. I saw a lot of tears and for some reason, I held mine in.

Many people spoke about James: his mother, his father, his sister, his brother, his best friend, two of his three sons, and his wife gave the closing prayer. All of them were courageous and gave excellent speeches. His mom cried a lot during her speech--which made most of us tear up; his sister sang a song that his mom used to sing to him as a child and her singing was perfect; his father gutted it out and made it through his speech--a moving tribute to his eldest son; his brother told some great stories about James as a kid and growing up; and his best friend, an officer in the navy, gave a fantastic speech about growing up with James, holding it together like a true hero.

I saw a few people from the hospital, but no one that I knew by name. I spoke to no one before or after the service, except for James. I said goodbye as they took away his coffin.

James Wilkinson Taylor Jr. " Jimmie", " James Army of One", " Daddy-O" 1971 ~ 2008 Hero, Husband, Father, Son, Brother, and Friend James gave his life while trying to save the life of another. A true patriot, he died on the Fourth of July, 2008.James was born August 23, 1971 in Salt Lake City, UT to James W Taylor Sr. and Diane McAllister. The first child of four, James was a leader from the beginning. He joined the military immediately following graduation from high school. A veteran of Desert Storm, he served as an army medic while stationed in Germany. He continued his education at SLCC where he graduated from nursing school and received a commission as a 2nd lieutenant in the Army Reserves. He was currently serving as a combat medic instructor with the 9th Battalion 4th Brigade 104 Div (IT) based out of Camp Parks, CA. His dedication to his country and the memory of those who served before him was shown in tribute by three successful runs in the Bataan Memorial Death March. He truly loved his country and was proud to serve in the Army Reserves. James married the love of his life on February 18, 1994 in the Salt Lake City Temple. Their family grew with James Mason, Weston Gary, and Jackson Wade. James' three sons were truly the pride and joy of his life. From Red Sox games, to movies, to being outdoors, and just being together, they spent every free moment as a family. As an RN James worked in the emergency departments of LDS Hospital, IMC, and St Marks. His passion for serving others was especially shown when he started his job as a flight nurse with Classic Lifeguard. He loved making the commute to Page, AZ knowing he would fly to save lives. He saw beautiful sights no one else would see, and saved countless lives of those who had little hope. His true dedication was shown when he gave his life while trying to save another. Our special thanks go out to the staff of the Flagstaff Hospital. Their dedication to James was shown by the countless non-stop hours by his side trying to save his life. Our thoughts and prayers are with the six other families who lost their loved ones in the sky over Flagstaff, AZ. He is survived by his eternal wife Traci, his three sons Mason, Weston, and Jackson. His mother Diane McAllister. His father James (Colleen) Taylor Sr. His brother and sisters, Shane (Noelle) Taylor, Laurie (Chuck) Brady, and Tami (Thad) Smith. Many nephews, nieces, uncles, aunts, cousins, and friends. He is preceded in death by his grandparents Jack and Dorothy McAllister, Owen Fox Taylor, and Dolores Ruby Taylor. Funeral Services will be held on Sat., July 12, 2008, 12 noon at the Murray North Stake Center, 5200 S. 700 W. Family and friends may call Fri. evening from 6-8 p.m. at Larkin Sunset Gardens, 1950 E. 10600 S., and from 11-11:45 Saturday at the Stake Center. Online condolences at In lieu of flowers a memorial fund has been set up for James' family at any Zions bank.

1 comment:

Kelly Swails said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Paul.