Bradenton soldier killed in training exercise is laid to rest
SARASOTA - The 20-year-old soldier from Bradenton killed in a training exercise in South Korea was laid to rest at the Sarasota National Cemetery Wednesday afternoon.
It was an emotional day for the family of U.S. Army, Pfc. Nick Panipinto as they said their final goodbyes to the young soldier who tragically lost his life when his Bradley fighting vehicle flipped early this month.
His casket draped in the American flag made its way to the Patriots Plaza at the Sarasota National Cemetery as hundreds of members of the community came to show their support.
"That’s the sacrifice that he and his family were willing to make so that our freedom remain our freedom,” said Blair McFarlane.
McFarlane, the ride captain for the Patriots Guard Riders, says he and his crew of riders always show up to support the families of veterans who’ve died making the ultimate sacrifice.
"I owe this man everything that I have, that I’m privileged to have,” said McFarlane.
Panipinto’s parents were honored each receiving an American flag to commemorate his service. Panipinto received several awards in his short military career.
"If we can be of any comfort by reminding them, by our presence, they are not alone," said McFarlane. "They’re not alone in grieving, we grieve with them.”
McFarlane says the Patriots Guard Riders were honored to be asked to be attendance and presented the family with a plaque to thank them and a book signed by several guard riders to remind them the community is here to always show their support.
"It was a real honor, it’s always an honor to be here to be honoring the soldiers who have lost their life’s,” he said.
Panipinto’s family describe the young man as adventurous who loved the outdoors. We here at SNN thank him for his service.