ROCKFORD, Mich – The community was encouraged to line the streets of 10 mile off of US 131 to salute Army Specialist Shanafelt’s body as the hearse made its way to Pederson Funeral Home.
Shanafelt’s remains arrived at Ford International Airport around 3:30 p.m Thursday and had a Patriot Guard escorted from the airport to Rockford. The public participated in the procession by lining 10 Mile road in Rockford Mich. around 4:00 p.m.
The funeral will take place at a Penderson Funeral Home, 127 N. Monroe St., Rockford.
In 2011 Shanafelt was injured well acting as a medic in combat. After he was hurt Shanafelt tried to recover from his injuries at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington D.C.
Doctors say Specialist Shanafelt died in his sleep the night before Thanksgiving.
Richard Christian of Cutlerville, who served during Vietnam, was one of the first people to wait for the procession. It was a very emotional sight, seeing him with a can in one hand and waving a gigantic American flag in the other.
“I spent my time in Germany but I have a son that was in the military and he served as a medic so I can kind of related to this family a little bit.” Christian said.
It wasn’t long before Gayle Kramer of Sand Lake, wearing a picture of her son Alex Orlowski in his Air Force uniform, joined Richard.
“My prayers and thoughts are with them and their son will never be forgotten. It’s like if you are a mom like I am of a United States Air Force or any of the military moms, you take and your heart goes out to each one because they have touched your heart in so many special ways.” Kramer said.
Mary Boonstra of Rockford described what it was like to see the procession pass by. “Just so emotional, the nursing home right here, the older ladies came with their walkers, there’s families with little kids, it’s just so emotional, we’re just so grateful for these families.”