DRAPER — The remains of Maj. Brent Taylor, the North Ogden mayor killed earlier this month while serving in Afghanistan, are finally headed back to Utah.
His remains will be coming from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, arriving around 3 p.m. on Wednesday at the Roland Wright Air National Guard Base in Salt Lake City, Maj. D.J. Gibb of the Utah National Guard said Tuesday.
His funeral is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at the Dee Events Center on the Weber State University campus in Ogden, Gibb said. A viewing will be held the day before, from 5-8 p.m. Friday. The public is invited to both events.
"It's going to make it very real," said Phillip Swanson, a member of the North Ogden City Council. Finally seeing the casket containing Taylor's remains "will make it very real, tangible."
In conjunction with news of the return of Taylor's remains, Kristy Pack, Taylor's sister-in-law, expressed gratitude at the outpouring of support his death has generated.
"We are humbled by the incredible response of the public in support of Maj. Taylor’s family and friends during this very difficult time,” she said in a National Guard statement outlining the timeline of funeral events. “We feel the strength of the community and are grateful for their outpouring of love and prayers.”
Taylor died Nov. 3 while serving in Afghanistan with the Utah Army National Guard. A member of the Afghan special forces he was helping train apparently turned on him and killed him, according to authorities. He was on leave as North Ogden mayor and nearing the end of a one-year deployment with the military.
The tragic turn shocked and saddened many in Utah beyond, and Dee Events Center was picked to accommodate the large number of mourners expected. The facility, home to the WSU basketball team, can accommodate more than 12,000 people, depending on the seating configuration.
A "military vigil" is scheduled outside Myers Mortuary in Ogden from 8 p.m. Friday, after the viewing, until 8 a.m. Saturday. A military contingent will be "watching over Maj. Taylor's remains," the National Guard statement said.
Following, Saturday's funeral, Taylor's remains will be taken by procession for burial at Ben Lomond Cemetery in North Ogden, "the city he loved so much," said Pack. Swanson said representatives from law enforcement agencies, fire departments and more will take part in the procession and side streets will be closed as it passes.
"It's a large procession," he said.
FILLING HOLES LEFT BEHIND
Also Tuesday, the North Ogden City Council formally adopted the timeline for selecting a new mayor to replace Taylor.
Brent Chugg has been serving as mayor since Taylor left for Afghanistan last January per legislation that allows for a temporary replacement when the incumbent mayor goes on military leave. But with Taylor’s death, the mayoral post is considered vacant and the city council must pick a new leader.
Per the process, candidates may apply starting Wednesday and they will have until noon Dec. 3. Then the city council will interview the hopefuls at a public meeting on Jan. 8 and make a selection.
The mayor selected would serve until January 2020. In November 2019 elections, meanwhile, voters would pick a mayor to serve the final two years of Taylor’s four-year term, from January 2020 until January 2022. Taylor was elected to his second term as mayor in 2017.
Tuesday’s city council meeting was the first since Taylor’s death and officials held a moment of silence in his honor.
“We certainly mourn the loss of our great friend, colleague and mayor and warrior in the U.S. Army,” Chugg said.
Swanson praised the outpouring of support from the community to help the Taylor family. He knew North Ogden was a great community, he said, “but with the tragedy it has been reinforced 1,000 times, how great the residents are.”