More than 150 flag-holding supporters donning red, white and blue lined streets and sidewalks at the Saturday funeral procession of .
Friends, family and strangers gathered to mourn Meador, 36, a member of the Army National Guard, at Seacoast Baptist Church on St. Andrews Road. .
Meador was .
Meador enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1994 and then served with the National Guard 132nd and 133rd Military Police Company of Timmonsville, where he was stationed overseas in Afghanistan on his first deployment.
Meador was scheduled to return in August, according to published reports.
Before the arrival of friends and family, locals lined the sidewalks of St. Andrews Road with flags and signs to show support.
Some held signs that read “Praying For You” and “Thank You!”
Citizens said they wanted to support the family through their bereavement, though most in the crowd did not know Sgt. Meador or his family.
One woman who said she went to high school with Sgt. Meador helped to hold a large “thank you” sign across from the church.
The bulk of the supporters at the funeral were from the Patriot Guard Riders motorcyclists group, a national organization created to oppose the Westboro Baptist Church.
Patriot Guard Riders attend funerals of fallen military personnel to show support and solidarity. were not visible at the funeral Saturday.
Bill Hopkins, senior ride captain of Patriot Guard Riders said that he and his crew attend the funerals to try to make mourning easier for the families. The group had more than 60 members holding flags at the entrance of the church.
“We try to be here for them,” he said. “We just want to show support.”
Al Guest of the Patriot Guard Riders said he is honored to be able to attend the funerals.
“I’m a Vietnam veteran,” he said. “We appreciate what they’re doing, we understand what they’re doing. For me to be here is an honor. We’re here to show support for the family, but mostly for the fallen soldier.”
Guest said that after the funeral procession began, he and the other members would ride to Fort Jackson National Cemetery, where Meador will receive military honors, to line the area with flags once again.
Two wives of U.S. Army soldiers also showed their support for the family.
Vivien Stembridge said she attended because she wanted a crowd at the funeral.
“We’re Army wives,” she said. “We chose [Sgt. Meador’s] funeral because we figured they’re would be a lot of support at the other .”
The two women said they were disappointed in the showing at the funeral and were attending the burial at the cemetery as well.
Ronald “Porkchop” Mangum of the popular show Ice Road Truckers was in the crowd showing his support, too.
“I did not know him,” he said. “The people who were standing beside me went to school with him and they knew him. But I was in the military, and to me these people deserve respect. I want to let the family have that time.”
Meador, who graduated from Lexington High School, was born in Beckley, W.Va., and is survived by his wife, three daughters, parents, and two brothers.