Pair of veterans lacked family, but not brothers and sisters

Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 9:37 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Two veterans recently passed away. One served in the Navy. The other served in Vietnam and dedicated more than 20 years to the armed forces.

Funeral organizers couldn’t find friends or family for either William Barnes and Thomas Ivey. But as they were being put to rest, they weren’t leaving alone.

“We’re all brothers and sisters in arms, we’ve got to make sure we all still take care of each other, even after we come out of the military,” said Arnold Gonzales.

Gonzales is an Army veteran and the VFW Fourth District commander. A few nights ago, he heard these veterans would be alone. He didn’t want that to happen.

“I started making phone calls and getting a hold of people to come out and support this event to make sure he gets a good sendoff,” he said.

Dozens of people showed up to give them a proper sendoff including retired and active-duty military.

But it didn’t stop there. Members of the Patriot Guard Riders of Georgia escorted them for an hour and a half ride from Augusta to the cemetery in Milledgeville.

“He fought for this country, he bled for this country, and we should at least show respect in seeing him off to heaven,” said Gonzales.

They didn’t have blood relatives there – but they did have family.

Gonzales says anytime they hear a veteran has no family or friends to attend the service they work to make sure someone’s there.

A funeral service held for two local veterans.
A funeral service held for two local veterans.(WRDW)

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