Washington County puts on “Walk of Honor” for veteran who died from COVID-19 complications

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The fourth person in Washington County to die of COVID-19 complications served the United States during World War II. His service inspired a special Tuesday procession to honor him in lieu of a traditional version.

Nancy Markey remembered her father Raymond Pennington, 94, as a hard worker and “true Southern gentleman.”

“He had a nickname for me which was really important when he was in the hospital,” Markey said. “When I’d say, ‘do you know who this is, dad?’ he would say my nickname.”

Originally from Mississippi before traversing to Ohio, Pennington moved to Fayetteville in the 1950s. He died Monday from COVID-19 complications. The virus robbed the sailor of a traditional processional typically reserved for veterans at the VA Hospital.

“He didn’t get his walk because he was a COVID patient,” said Roger Morris, Washington County’s coroner.

Morris spoke with the nurses who were with Pennington as he passed, and they told him there was a moment of silence. He decided to give the veteran an enhanced sendoff.

“I just said, ‘we’ll just have him a Walk of Honor from the office here to his final disposition,'” Morris said.

Pennington’s casket was draped with an American flag as it was lifted into the transport vehicle, and he followed a procession led by two Fayetteville Police motorcycles to the funeral home. Washington County Sheriff’s deputies and other first responders stood along Clydesdale Drive as they passed, saluting in silence.

“I’m thrilled that anybody is giving him the attention that he’s getting,” Markey said. “He was a great daddy.”

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