Hundreds honor combat veteran with 'mobile memorial' in Fayetteville

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Hundreds of vehicles lined a Fayetteville neighborhood to honor the life of a combat veteran who continued to make an impact in the community after retiring.

Retired Army Sergeant Major Youther C. Eaford, Jr. passed away on April 22.

The 75-year-old served for nearly 30 years. He had fought in Vietnam and Operation Storm, but his servant's heart pushed him to become an active member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6018.

During his 12 years with the veterans organization, Eaford served as the membership chairman, helping recruit others to join.

Because of strict COVID-19 restrictions, Eaford's family are not able to give him a proper military honor burial.

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So, with the help of members of the VFW Post 6018 and other veteran organizations, they were able to honor Eaford's life in a very special way.

Edward Beard, the Commander of the VFW Post 6018, helped organize this memorial for the family and for his friend, Eaford.

"He's going to be truly missed. I don't even know how we're going to replace the things that he did to our post and for veterans," Beard said.

Stacie Johnson, Eaford's daughter, sat alongside her father's home to watch the motorcycles and decorated cars and trucks pass by.

"If everyone in the world had one, one opportunity to feel this, this amount of love. It's overwhelming," Johnson said.

Eaford's wife, Verdell, was also watching the mobile memorial. She says they were married for 54 years and was in awe to see the amount of people her husband positively impacted.

The family says they are grateful to every loved one, friend, and stranger who took the time to make this day special.

"Whatever the virus number is, 19? Forget you. You can't beat us, you can't knock us down," Verdell said.

FULL CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

Eaford's funeral service will be held on Friday, May 1 at noon in the Wiseman Mortuary Chapel.

A select few family members will be attending that service, while the rest, along with other friends, will remain in their cars outside.

After that, the burial will take place at the Sandhills State Veterans Cemetery on Fort Bragg.
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