Four Unclaimed Veterans Buried With Honors

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Four homeless veterans were laid to rest Wednesday at DFW National Cemetery thanks to the Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program. (Published Wednesday, Mar 13, 2013)

    Four homeless or indigent veterans with no relatives to claim them are being buried with full military honors Wednesday in Dallas.

    In a ceremony at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery that lasted nearly an hour on Wednesday, 65-Year old Air Force Veteran Edgar Eugene Jordan, 77-year old Army Veteran James Albert Snyder, 74-year old Army Veteran Wesley Durwood Lewis, 56-year old and Navy Veteran Gary Michael Grimes were laid to rest in a burial with military honors.

     

    Department of Veterans Affairs officials say they couldn't locate any relatives for the Air Force veteran, who'd been homeless and died in January.

     

    VA officials say the two Army veterans in their 70s had no known living relatives. One died in January and the other in February.

    And the Navy veteran who died last week was a retired cinematographer who'd been estranged from his family for decades.

     

    "They were gentlemen that did not have any family,” Cindy Simpson, of Dignity Memorial Funeral Providers said. “The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office was the one that notified us." 

    Simpson’s organization, Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program, is responsible to arrange the funeral through the homeless veterans’ burial program. The program is designed to ensure eligible veterans receive a proper burial with honors.  

    Since the program started 10 years ago locally, 73 homeless veterans have been buried at DFW national cemetery.

    "We're family, the one thing that the military does; it creates a family bond,” Lt. Col. Billy Corn, Texas State Guard Chaplin said. “We do not have to know the person—all we have to know is that they've put on the uniform."

    Holding a service for four veterans at the same time was a first for the program.

    "[We have to make] sure we do it right the first time because that's all that we have is—one time," Simpson said.

    NBC 5's Andres Gutierrez contributed to this report.