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Veteran with no known family honored by many

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) - A dreary day at Texas State Veteran's Cemetery and a somber moment as a veteran without a family is laid to rest. But also, a moment of amazing grace as fellow veterans surround him.

"We are standing in the gap," says Denny Sivells, Road Captain for the Patriot Guard Riders. "We are acting as family for him."

"I'm here to honor a fallen brother," says Jimmy DeFoor, of the Texas Veterans Land Board.

Although not much is known about this veteran, DeFoor says there are three things that are certain.

"The thing that we do know is: He's a veteran. He served honorably. And he's a part of our brotherhood," he says.

DeFoor says seeing many strangers come to honor a veteran "sends a little chill down your back."

A sobering thought enters the mind of many.

"I was thinking about myself and how much family means to all of us," he says. "It's a moment that you reflect, even on your own life. And you thank God," DeFoor adds.

Perhaps the hardest part of any veteran funeral is the flag presentation. Jimmy DeFoor has accepted many flags for unattended veterans.

"It does not get any easier, believe me," he says.

Although no one in attendance is of the same bloodline, like all veterans, he does have a family.

"It was just an honor, truly an honor and I mean that to be here," Sivells says.

Family members have 90 days to collect the flag that was presented to DeFoor. If no family member comes forward in that time frame, the flag will remain at the Texas State Veterans Cemetery.


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