NORTH OGDEN, Utah (AP) — Residents of the hometown of North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor gathered Wednesday night to pay their respects to the Utah National Guard major killed while serving in Afghanistan.
Hundreds of well-wishers held a vigil for Taylor, holding candles and other lights while walking from Weber High School to Taylor’s nearby home.
His wife, Jennie Taylor, said in brief comments the family has been “overwhelmed with love.”
She plans to stay in the community, and neighbors will rally around her to help care for the couple’s seven children, neighbor Jeri Gale told the Deseret News.
“That’s what he would do for us, if the tables were turned, he would be there to help with our kids. It’s the least we could do,” Gale said. Local politics were divided before Brent Taylor became mayor, but his vision for the town brought people together, she said.
Another North Ogden resident, Frank Hare, remembered the mayor attending a Halloween party at a church in a cowboy costume that had a holster but no gun, the Salt Lake Tribune reported . He didn’t think it was appropriate to have a weapon in place of worship, even if it wasn’t real.
As mayor, Brent Taylor “showed up for everything,” even the early-morning chore of pickup up firework wrappers after the Fourth of July show, resident Tiffany Turner told the Tribune.
Councilman Phillip Swanson told the Standard-Examiner that funeral plans hadn’t been determined but that another public vigil to honor and remember Taylor is scheduled for Sunday evening at Barker Park in North Ogden.
Taylor was fatally shot last weekend by an Afghan commando he was training. His remains are at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where they arrived Tuesday.
The father of seven had implored Americans in his widely shared final Facebook post to vote.