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Program Gives Homeless Veteran A Military Funeral

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"It's all still fresh in my mind and it just really reminds me a lot of when my son died," said Angela Foster, Gold Star mother. Her son, James May, died last year while serving as a Marine in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Today, Foster represented the family that 54-year-old Randy Ford didn't have.

"I can't imagine those people who don't have anybody. My son had lots of family and there was lots of people there. It's just nice to make sure that somebody's there for the ones who don't," said Foster.

The Dignity Memorial® Homeless Veterans Burial Program gives honorably discharged veterans with no home, no money, and no next-of-kin, a service with military honors.

"When it comes to the end of life and if there isn't somebody there to support them and thank them, we're glad to step up and provide them the honors that they deserve for giving that service to the country," said Mark Hansen, Resthaven Mortuary general manager.

For those like Ford who came upon some difficult times during his last hours, his friends were appreciative of the program.

"It was a really nice feeling because it lets us know that our veterans are supported. Even if they didn't have anyone left around them, they still had some type of support. You know that there's going to be somebody there to respect them," said Rafi James, friend of Ford.

Dozens of people who knew Ford and many who didn't, joined together to pay tribute and remember the veteran Marine and former martial arts teacher.

"He was always generous, just giving to the community, just giving to everyone that he knew. Just never really taking anything for himself," said James.

So for those there, hearing the taps play and honor one of their own made that all worth it.

"It hasn't even been a year yet for my son. This is hard but I'm very happy to do it," said Foster.

Three fallen homeless veterans have received military funerals through the program this month.


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