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Officials plan vigil to honor Utah mayor Maj. Brent Taylor, killed in Afghanistan

November 9, 2018
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Community members gather in front of Brent Taylor's residence in North Ogden on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, to honor and mourn the loss of the North Ogden Mayor and Utah Army National Guard major who was killed in Afghanistan on Saturday.

NORTH OGDEN — Brent Taylor, the North Ogden mayor killed last Saturday in Afghanistan, may be gone, but he’s far from forgotten.

“You can definitely feel something missing,” said Jon Call, the North Ogden city attorney.

Well-wishers gathered Wednesday to remember him, holding a candlelight vigil to honor him. Participants walked from Weber High School to Taylor’s nearby North Ogden home, holding candles and other lights.

Another public vigil to honor and remember Taylor is scheduled for this coming Sunday starting at 5 p.m., according to North Ogden City Councilman Phillip Swanson. It will be held at the amphitheater at Barker Park, 2376 N. Fruitland Drive, and the public is welcome.

Meantime, funeral plans have yet to be pinned down and Taylor’s remains are still at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Swanson said. They arrived there from Afghanistan on Tuesday.

Taylor, a Utah Army National Guard major serving a year-long deployment in Afghanistan, was killed there while on a foot patrol in Kabul by a member of the Afghan military contingent he was helping train. The suspect unexpectedly turned on Taylor and other Afghan special forces members, in response, immediately killed the culprit.

The tragic turn shocked many in North Ogden and across Utah, and the ceremony Sunday, which will be Veterans Day, is meant to give the community a means to grieve together, Swanson said. The vigil will feature patriotic music and an audio-visual remembrance of Taylor, among other things.

Taylor, in his second term as mayor, temporarily stepped down last January for his deployment to Afghanistan. The City Council appointed Brent Chugg to fill in for Taylor until his planned returned next January and Chugg remembered a recent phone conversation with the late mayor.

“He was just pretty upbeat,” Chugg said. “He said, I’ll be back before you know it.”

Since Chugg was temporarily appointed mayor contingent on Taylor’s military service and planned return, his death essentially nullifies the arrangement. Thus, the council next week will make a formal call for applicants to serve as North Ogden mayor in Taylor’s absence, Chugg said, and ultimately select someone to serve through 2019. Then in November 2019 elections, city voters will elect someone to fill the final two years of Taylor’s term, 2020 and 2021, per the plan.

Chugg is mulling whether to apply for the leadership post, but hasn’t yet made a decision.

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