Phillip Key

Mark Hackett

Dallas Smith

Ronald Horn

John Gallagher

Dannie Fouts

Klaus Schaeffer

Paul Reed.

Those are the names of six Army Veterans, one Navy Veteran and one Coast Guard Veteran whose remains were never claimed by family or friends. Thankfully, they received a proper burial at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery May 7.

The Missing in America Project escort team and the Patriot Guard Riders (pictured above) escorted the unclaimed Veterans from Amarillo, Texas, to Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.

The Missing in America Project helps provide honorable, final services and interment for unclaimed Veteran remains with assistance from the Patriot Guard Riders.

Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew Leonard presents a flag to Army Veteran Ken Hammock, ride captain with the Patriot Guard Riders.

Over 80 riders paid their respects

More than 80 Patriot Guard Riders came to pay their respects to the eight unclaimed Veterans. Roshanda Bost and Army Veteran Ken Hammock accepted flags for their fellow Veterans during the service. Hammock is a ride captain with Patriot Guard Riders.

Roshanda Bost, Army Veteran, is assistant director, Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery. “I take joy in serving others and it’s an honor to give a Veteran their final benefit,” Bost said. “While deployed, I saw things that I will never forget. To be in a position now that I can ensure a Veteran is interred amongst their brothers and sisters is honorable to me.”

Hammock has participated in more than 700 services. He says it was an honor to accept a Veteran’s flag who did not have family available.

“We are here to honor Veterans,” said Larry Williams, a Marine Veteran and director of the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery. “All Veterans deserve the best and we are going to try and provide the best service for them. These eight Veterans didn’t have anybody to claim them but they do have somebody, us, their fellow Veterans.”

Burial in a VA national cemetery is open to all members of the armed forces and to Veterans who have met minimum active duty service requirements, as applicable by law and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.

Members of the reserve components of the armed forces who die while on active duty under certain circumstances or who die while on training duty are also eligible for burial, as are service members and former service members who were eligible for retired pay at the time of their death.

Spouses, minor children, and – under certain conditions – dependent unmarried adult children, are also eligible for burial even if they predecease the Veteran.

Jennifer Roy is a public affairs specialist for the Dallas Regional Office of Public Affairs.

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Published on May. 15, 2021

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