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.

Comments (12)
  1. wdonald says:

    as i am a veteran myself, thank you, for your good deed

  2. TJ Elliott says:

    I’m also a vet I served in reg army, I think what you guys are doing is great,, from the bottom of my heart thank you….

  3. Christian Alexander Roberts says:

    Combat veteran here. Thank you for taking care of my brothers.

  4. SSgt Nestle says:

    I’m currently serviing in the military and i think it is great that my home state is taking care of our Veterans. To many of them get forgotten about.

  5. Michael Minjack says:

    All peo adore god and soldier in time of war and not before
    Thanx folks
    A veteran!!!

  6. Lee Rogers says:

    Cost free military burials are already a benefit for all veterans with a honorable discharge. Every state has military cemeteries which perform these services and most funeral homes are aware of the process. This is not to say that the efforts by the Dignity Program are not without merit, but rather all veterans and their families should be aware of the benefits to which they are entitled.

  7. Robin Pekel says:

    At my current duty station, I’ve never seen so many homeless men and women and I always wonder how many of them are military Veterans; how many of them volunteered to defend their country proudly, and then when they needed help they were forgotten?
    Thank you Michigan for honoring those two men and giving them the burial they deserve!

  8. Navyvet8192 says:

    Is there a place to make contributions to this organization? This is one I’d definitely pony up some cash for!! Good Job Folks.

  9. Mike says:

    This is ridiculous, according to the VA all veterans are to receive free burials. So who is lying, the VA or is this group trying to make a buck.

    1. Christian Alexander Roberts says:

      No one has to be lying. As with any kind of veteran’s benefit, you have to submit paperwork to the VA. The deceased veteran can’t do it, and if they had no next of kin, or none who came forward, then the paperwork doesn’t get submitted and the burial benefit doesn’t happen. That’s where these guys come in. Just because you’re entitled, doesn’t mean you actually get it…happens all the time.

  10. Don says:


  11. DAVE says:

    thank you for this article it shows our homeless veterans who pass-on in some state give them dignity BE nice to see respect to all veterans to be treated while we are alive

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