DETROIT (WWJ) – It’s a first for Michigan. Two military veterans received free burials Monday through the Dignity Memorial Burial Program.
Full military honors were given to U.S. Army veterans Anthony Bullock and William Roland, Jr. at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly.
Vern Pixley of the Pixley Funeral Home spoke at the funeral services.
“Often times our homeless veterans remain unclaimed in hospital morgues or the medical examiner’s officer. And they’re abandoned by family and friends sometimes not knowing where they are,” said Pixley.
The two Detroit men died of natural causes over a year ago and their bodies have been unclaimed at the Wayne County morgue for more than a year.
Wayne County Director of Senior and Veteran Services Kevin Kelley says an exhaustive search has been done to find the next of kin.
“A large percentage of our homeless population are veterans. Some estimates are as high as 20 percent. And it’s a very sad situation,” said Kelley.
The two veterans were given military-style burials through the Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program, and the group has agreed to bury unclaimed bodies of military vets in Wayne County from now on.