16 Nevada Unclaimed Veterans to Receive Military Funeral in Fernley
The Missing in America Project, along with the Nevada Veterans Coalition will honor 16 veterans at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fernley Thursday afternoon.
Sixteen veterans whose remains have gone unclaimed for decades have finally gotten a proper goodbye. The Nevada Veterans Coalition didn't want the men to be forgotten any longer. So on Thursday, they held a service in their honor.
No one knew the fallen heroes. Every single person who came out to the memorial wanted to pay their respects and say thank you to those who have served.
Three rounds of shots rang throughout the Northern Nevada Veterans Cemetery in Fernley, honoring the fallen heroes.
The Missing in America Project searches for the cremated remains of veterans who have been forgotten in funeral homes. Their mission is to give them the service they deserve.
"It means a lot to all of us that do this. We do this from our heart. We're the families," said Tom Draughon, the Public Information Officer for the Nevada Veterans Coalition.
The rank and names of the dead were read, followed by the branch in which they served. Dating back to World War II, decades have gone by without a funeral for these veterans.
Nancy Donohue attended the ceremony and said, "It's so sad that these veterans didn't have anyone, any family members here."
As a relative of a Korean War veteran, Donohue understands the sacrifice they have made for our country. "These men and woman lived and died for us, to protect us. So I think it's just an honorable thing to do."
Honoring comrades he never met has Val Ritchey still feeling connected to these sixteen men, because of their shared service.
"If you're put into a position to give your blood for your country, there's a bond there that needs to be recognized," said Ritchey, a Vietnam War veteran.
There are still many more men and women from our military that remain unclaimed today.
Draughon adds, "There's hundreds and hundreds more in the state of Nevada alone. So it's going to be a long process to find them, to identify them, and then bring them out here and give them the service that every veteran deserves. "
There will be another ceremony at the cemetery in Fernley in December, where people from the community can come out and place wreaths on the graves of veterans.
Bernard Roginski (1925-2016) served in the US Army/Navy 1943-1975 WWII Korea Vietnam Bronze Star
Edgar Strauss Jr (1924-2016) served in the US Army 1943-1945, WWII
Robert Evans (1927-2010) served in the US Army 1946-1948 WWII
Fred Berlett (1910-1983) served in the US Navy 1927-1948 WWII
Roosel Bates (1908-1986) served in the US Army 1942-1945 WWII
James Baker (1907-1986) served in the US Army 1945 WWII
Clinton Bogie (1920-1988) served in the US Navy 1942-1946 WWII
Leslie Blakeman (1923-1985) served in the US Navy 1942-1947 WWII
Donald Anderson (1926-1986) served in the US Army 1952-1954 Korea
Douglas Willick (1933-2005) served in the US Army 1950-1958 Korea Purple Heart
James Spendal (1937-2015) US Army served from 1957-1959
Donald Parkyn (1934-2014) served in the US Army 1955-1957
Kenneth Beyer (1939-2014) served in the US Navy 1957-1957
Raymond Bodine (1923-1987) served in the US Army 1942-1945 WWII
Raymond Depoorter (1940-2013) served in the US Army 1963-1967 Vietnam
Thomas Carlson (1947-2016) served in the US Army 1969-1976 Vietnam
And one veteran's spouse - Gisela Maes (1943-2014)