SLIDELL, La. – Two Army Veterans were simultaneously honored and laid to rest at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Cemetery on Jan. 24. They are known as unaccompanied Veterans because they died with no surviving family members.
Vietnam Army Veterans Wayne Patin and Harry Furner would not have had anyone at their gravesite if many people from the community, including service men and women from across generations and branches of service, community supporters, and local Veterans, had not shown up to pay their final respects on this chilly morning.
Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs (LDVA) Secretary Joey Strickland has said that these types of funerals are especially meaningful because they give our communities an opportunity to stand by Veterans who have no known living family members and to make sure that the sacrifices they made while in service to our country are never forgotten.
“I encourage everyone who can to attend these military funerals to do so,” said LDVA Secretary Joey Strickland. “These are our brothers and sisters-in-arms and we want to ensure that they receive the honors that they earned.”
The LDVA has arranged for the burials of over six Veterans without any known family members to occur in the pavilion areas of their four Veterans Cemeteries located across the state.
All of these men and women have been given full military honors. The local communities have rallied around these Veterans and attended their funerals to honor them and render their final salutes.
While the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration does offer no cost burial benefits to qualifying Veterans, the Veterans family should make funeral or cremation arrangements with a funeral provider or cremation office. Any item or service obtained from a funeral home or cremation office is obtained at the family’s expense.
For this reason, LDVA Secretary Strickland has made it a priority during his Administration to help ensure that all of the men and women who served in our military are honored and remembered. The LDVA has gone above and beyond to facilitate the burials of several Veterans who were indigent, homeless, or without any known survivors.
“We have coordinated the burials for 6 qualified Veterans in the past year alone,” said Secretary Strickland. “But, our Department could not have done this without generous donations from the Catholic War Veterans (CWV), Post 1969.”
CWV Post 1969, along with the Louisiana Military Support Corporation, which is a 501c 3, was able to assist the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs to cover some of the funeral and cremations costs of unclaimed Veterans. Their generosity has helped ensure that these men and women, who bravely served in our Armed Forces, were given proper burials.
“Several months ago I was contacted and asked if our Catholic War Veterans USA, Post 1969 could raise some money to help pay the costs of unclaimed Veteran funerals or cremation arrangements,” said Larry Jones, Commander, USCG (retired). “The request to help deceased Veterans without any living family members to receive a proper military funeral is something that we are proud to do.”
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, burial benefits available include a gravesite in any of their 135 national cemeteries or the Veterans Cemeteries – States, Territories, and Tribal Governments with available space, opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, a Government headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate, at no cost to the family.
Some Veterans may also be eligible for Burial Allowances. Cremated remains are buried or inurned in national cemeteries in the same manner and with the same honors as casketed remains.
Burial benefits available for spouses and dependents buried in a national cemetery include burial with the Veteran, perpetual care, and the spouse or dependents name and date of birth and death will be inscribed on the Veteran’s headstone, at no cost to the family. Eligible spouses and dependents may be buried, even if they predecease the Veteran.
For more information on how to support the Catholic War Veterans, Post 1969, in their mission to help give unclaimed Veterans a proper burial, please reach out to them via email, at: CWVPOST1969@aol.com.
Monetary donations for CWV, Post 1969, can also be sent directly to: Louisiana Military Support Corporation, C/O Post 1969, 8905 Ormond Place, River Ridge, La. 70123.
Catholic War Veteran’s USA was established in 1935, is officially recognized by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and is chartered by Congress. Find out more about their organization, at: Catholic War Veterans USA.
“Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.” – President Harry S. Truman